Helping your teenager to look after their emotional health is as important as them looking after their physical health. They will need to learn how to cope with the stresses that life undoubtedly will throw at them and to bounce back and learn from these challenging times. This is known as resilience. We know that young people who are resilient are more able to build safe, secure relationships, learn, develop and achieve and enjoy life!
Do want to find out more about how you can help your teenagers can become more resilient? Below are some tops tips & ideas that can help you & your teen.
Importance of resilience in teenagers.
We all need tools to help us find our way through challenging times and to manage our difficult emotions. The COVID pandemic has really highlighted this need, especially right now. Resilience means being able to learn and recover from difficult times and to adapt at times when we face challenges. And building resilience in teenage years is especially important, because it is a time of intense physical and emotional development and many life changes and challenges.
Resilience sometimes get a bad name because it is sometimes misunderstood. Resilience is not about being strong, keeping quiet and putting up with a potentially harmful situation. It is important that young people can ask for help and talk about their feelings.
Are you born resilient?
We know that a persons chance of becoming very stressed, and it leading to anxiety or depression is a combination of nature and nurture. The good news is that skills to improve a persons resilience can be learnt. It is important that resilience is developed with care and that unrealistic expectations are not set.Resilience is better thought of in the same way as any other developmental task and your teen is helped to develop coping skills over time.
Think, time, talk resource for teenagers
Good emotional health and “feeling good” is an important part of our overall health and it helps us to enjoy the good things in life and to cope with more challenging times. We know that to stay healthy we need to be active and eat well. Likewise, there are things we can do every day to take care of our emotional health. The ‘Think, Time, Talk’ resource will show you how you can use the ‘Five Ways To Wellbeing’ to support your emotional health
Five Ways to Wellbeing
. Five ways to wellbeing was developed as an easy way to bring together all the things that we know help our welbeing. It provides us with five actions that we can include in our everyday life that will help us feel better, function better and keep physically healthy.
Being around people that are important to a young person and develop healthy relationships
This is wider than exercising. Anything that keeps a young person on the move. Walking the dog, running around with friends, playing sports, dancing.
Probably the trickiest of the five ways because we tend to have busy lives and rush around. However, slow down and take time to look around and be aware of surroundings and how they make you feel.
Just trying something new. I does not have to be something that a young person excels at. Focus on trying out something that brings enjoyment, fun and is relaxing
Doing something for someone else has been shown to release feel good hormones. It does not have to be anything big. Exchanging a smile and saying hello, perhaps volunteering in the local community or helping a friend out.
In Walsall, children and young people designed a poster to help others remember the five ways to wellbeing. Our Hannah 5 Ways to Wellbeing doll links each of the five ways to parts of our body.
Think, Time, Talk
We have thoughts that run through our head all of the time. We often do not notice these. The ones that we do notice often tend to be the ones that are unhelpful. Perhaps a young person hears themselves saying “I am no good at maths. I failed that test” or “I rubbish at football. I can not run fast enough”. When a person listens to their unhelpful thoughts and ignores more helpful ones then it can have an affect on how they feel about themselves. It is important when a young person hears a unhelpful thought to check it out and to see if it is true. “is that thought really true?” or “does that really matter?”. There are other things that young people (and adults) can do to pause the unhelpful thoughts and to focus on more helpful thinking. It takes practice! Check out the resource Think, Time Talk.
Young people, like adults have to remember that they can not be good at everything. They have to learn to be kind to thenselves:
- Recognise your strengths
- Take pride in your achievements
- Reward yourself for making an effort
We have all had a little bit more time to spare during the pandemic. Did we learn anything from taking time to slow down? Did we do activities that we enjoy? Did we stop and look around ‘take notice’? These are all things that can help improve wellbeing and can help to relax and de-stress young people. Now life is returning to “normal” it is important for young people to take time out to do the things that make them feel happy and relaxed.
‘It is good to talk’. Talking helps young people ‘connect’ with others. That might be friends, family or other people who are significant to their lives. When young people have safe and secure relationships it can help them feel a sense of belonging and of purpose. This boosts self esteem and confidence. It is also important that young people have someone that they can talk to when they are feeling worried or sad. Some young people prefer to talk to someone that they know and trust, some will prefer to gain support on line and with a stranger. The important thing is that they can talk to someone. Below are some details of safe sources of help.
Kooth.com is an online counselling service especially for young people. It is funded by Walsall NHS and so you know it is a safe service for young people to use.
Teen Chathealth is a confidential text service that is run by Walsall School Nursing service. The ChatHealth number is 07480 635363 and is open weekdays between 9am and 5pm. Texts can be sent at anytime and a nurse will text back during the opening hours.
Health for Teens is a website that is run by the NHS and provides lots of information about emotional and physical health. Young people helped design the website and so it should be right up their street!
Let’s develop a plan.
The Think, Time, Talk resource has an a section for a young person to write down their wellbeing plan. We know that at the times that we are really stressed then we often can not think straight or very rationally. Teens are no different. So, if a young person can be supported to plan a head and have some strategies to draw on if they are facing challenging times, then this can help them to feel more prepared and more in control.
Other Helpful resources
See Me Scotland – resiliance-toolkit.pdf (seemescotland.org)
How about you? How is your emotional health?
You, as a parent or carer have had a challenging year too! Looking after your own emotional health is important. You have heard of the analogy ‘put on your own oxygen mask first’.
You can use the same tips and strategies that we have talked about for teenagers and develop your own toolkit. You can also watch one of our School Nursing team talking about adult resilience . We have developed a wellbeing toolkit webinar especially for parents and carers.
What other support is available to my teen?
If you are worried about your teenagers health and wellbeing then we are always happy to talk to a parent or carer and the young person themselves. Young people can contact by text on our ChatHealth number 07480 635363. Or if you need to talk to a member of the School Nursing team then you can call our single point of access Monday -Friday 9m -5pm on 01922 423349 or text us on our parent chathealth text number 07520 634909. Either way we can talk through your concerns and agree what further help can be offered.