Do you notice that your teen may be more reserved, less social or more irritable than usual? It’s possible that they’re struggling with something and they’re unsure how to deal with their feelings or rise above them.

If you want to help your teenager overcome their struggles, it’s important to consider the teen’s feelings and use a gentle approach.

Getting through difficulties is an important life skill and teens need support, so it’s crucial not to push your teen too far.

Consider these strategies to help them triumph:

1. Talk to your teen and listen to their words and body language. The first step is to talk to your teenager. You can discuss your observations and ask them to share what’s on their mind. Listening is more important than talking, so be sure to create space for their perspective and feelings, no matter how strange they may seem.

2. Develop real strategies together. How can your teen approach the situation and their feelings in a new way? You can help by creating a list of ideas. Brainstorm helpful items and share short examples that show strategies in action.

3. Practice the strategies at home. By practicing the ideas in a controlled environment you can help your teen develop skills and confidence for real-life situations.

    • Be very calm and patient with your teen through practice sessions. Your goal is to ensure they feel fully supported.
    • Point out their strengths and share what they are doing well. Resist the urge to correct, and you will notice your teen will build confidence with each rehearsal.

4. Start slow. It’s important to start slow and not push your teen too far at first. They should feel comfortable with the steps being taken to overcome the situation or feelings.

    • Encourage them to choose one strategy from the list and commit to trying it for the next day or two. Ask them to talk after trying the strategy and help them reflect on what worked for them.

5. Encourage positive thinking. Changing the teen’s thought process can help them develop personal resilience.

Teens often worry about being accepted or judged by others. Self-criticism can stop teens from seeing possibilities or believing they can overcome difficulties. It’s important to address these matters. You can gently encourage your teen by focusing on the positive aspects of their strengths and skills they are developing.

6. Encourage teens to ask for support. Difficulties can stop teens from speaking up and asking for support. They may feel they need to figure it out on their own. You can work with them to ensure they feel your support. You can also encourage them to reach out to other trusted people and resources.

7. Focus on championing positive experiences for your teen. By focusing on ways to create positive experiences you’re helping them create memories and feel good. As much as teens may not admit it, having your blessing for things that matter to them helps them feel validated. This also leads to a more positive self-image.

You can help your teenager overcome struggles by starting small and working through the process slowly. Each teen has a unique personality, so it’s important to let them develop their new skills and attitude naturally.

About The Author – Ed Gough, Jr.

Ed's experience working with fathers and men injects an extra dose of thoughtfulness into all of his conversations in these areas. His mission is to bring purpose and clarity to fathers' and men's lives. He believes that "the better men are, the better the world will be". 

Ed has been a member of Dad central (Ontario) Steering Committee since May 2019. Ed hosts Dad Central's monthly epic events and was the moderator for the "Dad's Panel" at the 2019 Side-by-Side: Fatherhood Matters in the Early Years" conference.

Ed has been the host and producer of his own award winning online show The Dr. Vibe Show™ for the last decade. He's done over 2000 interviews with people from all over the world. In 2018, The Dr. Vibe Show™ was the recipient of the Innovation Award by the Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA). Since May 2013, The Dr. Vibe Show™ is the first and only online show to be regularly featured on the popular U.S. based men’s website The Good Men Project.

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