All teenagers are different. But many of the issues they face in their teenage years are the same. Here are some of the common things that teenagers go through, and some tips to help them cope.
In this video our panel of experts answer common questions parents have about raising teens.
My teen is really anxious
Teens have their fair share of things to worry about – changes to their bodies, friendship and relationship pressures, and exam stresses. If your teen seems to be constantly overwhelmed or worn out by anxiety then something more serious may be going on. If anxiety is stopping them from getting on with their life then there are things you can do to help them. Take a look at our page on supporting your teen's mental health for more advice.
This page on the YoungMinds website has good advice on helping your teen manage their anxiety.
In this short video, Child Psychologist Professor Cathy Richards discusses teenagers and how to help them if they are feeling anxious.
For a more in-depth look at how you can support your teen’s mental health, you can sign up for a free course from NHS Scotland and SilverCloud. You can find out more about the Supporting an anxious teen course here and sign up for free using the code Scotland2020.
My teen is withdrawn
Teens often stop engaging with friends and family when they’re unhappy or stressed. It might be because they’re worrying about something or are confused or scared. If you spot this happening, try and get involved in a positive way as soon as you can. We have some advice to help you support them.
My teen won’t tell me how they feel
It’s not unusual for teenagers to keep things close to their chest. They might not want to share things with you out of embarrassment. Or they might worry you won’t understand. Or they may not be able to explain the way they feel. Getting them to talk to you can be tough. But you may be able to help your teen by asking them about what they’re feeling and by acknowledging how confusing the feelings can be. Our page on talking to your teen has more ideas.
My teen feels everything too deeply
Coping with day to day challenges can be particularly difficult for teens. Their emotions and feelings can be really intense and they can be overwhelmed by strong feelings. One way to help them is to be calm yourself when you're talking to them. Not getting angry or frustrated sets a good example. By showing them how to deal with problems in this way, you’re helping teach them how to approach these challenges. Staying calm isn’t always easy we know, but our page on mental health advice for parents has tips you can try.
My teen is taking too many risks
Most teens do silly things from time to time. It’s usual to experiment as a teenager – at this age the emotional part of the brain is more impulsive and isn’t as good at understanding consequences. But there’s a difference between teens being teens and taking dangerous risks.
As with most things, if you’re concerned about this then the best place to start is to talk to them. Hopefully If they know you’re there for them, they’ll be less likely to go to extremes. If you find it hard knowing where to start, take a look at our section on teens and risk-taking behaviour. This looks at how you can help your teen make more informed decisions, and how to talk to them about vaping, smoking, alcohol and drug use.
My teen is angry all the time
Sometimes you may feel you’re treading on eggshells around your teenager. Some grumpiness is to be expected, but if they’re raging all the time then it might be time to try and help. They may be overreacting to things, but that doesn’t mean their feelings aren’t valid. Try to talk to them on their level and don’t dismiss any problems they have. Our page on dealing with conflict has some ideas you can try to calm things down.