The upside of anger?

If you’re the parent of a teenager you’re likely to be no stranger to bad moods or arguments in the household.

Close up of tree barkAdolescence

During this developmental stage a young person’s hormones and emotions can be in turmoil.

They might not be able to help the way they feel and their sense of rage may be next to impossible to contain.

Patience is a virtue?

Try not to get drawn into an argument or let your own anger get the better of you. This is will not be easy. But doing your best not to let their mood affect everyone in the household can go a long way to maintaining harmony.

It doesn’t meant you have to tolerate outright abuse or continual and never-ending insolence. But, how you address their behaviour will to some extent determine their response and attitude.

It’s OK to be angry

Anger is a normal, healthy emotion. Being angry is not a bad thing, but it’s important for your son or daughter to learn how to manage it. When we don’t manage anger well it can be a problem.

Encourage your son or daughter to express their sense of anger in a constructive way, or to find ways of helping them manage their feelings. It can help them in that moment, but also build good habits for managing later on in life.

Tips for managing anger:

  • leave the room/situation
  • go somewhere quiet and get some time out
  • write down what’s wrong and then tear it up and throw it away
  • play music or a video game
  • count to 100 slowly, ten might not be quite long enough.

Be clear

Try to be calm, clear and assertive when addressing your son/daughter in relation to issues which may be causing friction.

Good communication skills can help to diffuse a situation. Show you’re actively listening, but if you disagree with something try to explain why.

A parent in need

Don’t forget that despite appearances your son/daughter most likely still need you for emotional support.

Whatever age they are, struggling with their own sense of independence while still needing support is completely normal.

The importance of being confident

Red snailOne of the hardest, but most important tasks of a parent or guardian is to try and build their son or daughter’s self-confidence.

Teaches resilience

It can seen like a tough and often never-ending task. But, it’s important as it will help them manage the ups and downs of life as they become more independent.

Signs a young person is confident:

  • having belief in themselves
  • a sense of responsibility for themselves
  • optimism about life.

Some indications of low confidence:

  • often feeling they’re the odd-one-out
  • not accepting compliments
  • fearful of trying new things
  • believing they’ll fail before they try something.

Learning to communicate

Helping your son/daughter to communicate in an assertive manner goes a long way to improving their self-esteem. If they’re able to address their own needs and stand up for themselves it will help them feel more confident overall.

Styles of communication can include:

  • aggressive – often forceful and leads to conflict
  • passive-aggressive – things like sarcasm, procrastination and stubbornness
  • assertive – involves being clear about what you want, feel and think without being demanding.

Self-esteem

Helping your son/daughter build self-confidence will inevitably require some work on their self-esteem.

A few tips for boosting self-esteem:

  • learn to communicate assertively – including not ignoring your own needs/wants
  • be nice – getting on with people is good for our confidence, it’s not hard to be friendly and usually others will reciprocate
  • fake it ’til you make it – behaving confidently can help them believe they’re confident
  • encourage writing – either a list or keeping a regular journal of what their strengths and accomplishments are, no matter how small
  • don’t compare oneself to others – it’s easy to mistakenly believe everyone else has it better than us and whether it’s true or not is irrelevant as we just feel worse about ourselves
  • trying is more important than achieving – learning it’s OK to fail at something and that we often learn more from the effort of trying.

Learning from you

How you interact with with the world and feel about yourself will often influence the behaviour of your son/daughter.

Trying not to be so hard on yourself and being realistic about your own abilities and expectations can go a long way to teaching your son/daughter how to believe in themselves.

Have faith in them

If you believe in your son/daughter and more importantly if you show you do, they’ll feel more comfortable being themselves.

Having your support will go a long way to providing the foundations of being confident and resilient.

 

5 steps to mindfulness

SunsetMindfulness is being aware or paying attention. It’s learning how to live more in the moment, without judging yourself when thoughts do slip into the past or the future. It’s a great way to de-stress and relax.

Mindfulness is everywhere

It seems like everyone’s talking about being mindful, and it can appear easier said than done. But, it can be quite simple to adjust our habitual negative thinking and learn to focus on more helpful thoughts.

It can be useful for you to practice, or also to bring into the family and share with your son or daughter.

Here are a few ways to help bring mindfulness into your life:

Set reminders

Programme your phone to gently prompt you to bring your attention to the present. After a while you might find yourself regularly checking-in without the aid of the mobile.

Relax

There are loads of guided mini-meditations, helping to focus on the breath, or soothing sounds. Calm.com has some simple relaxations, or you could Google it and see what you find. Maybe experiment with a few until you find some that you like.

Take a class

Try out t’ai-chi, yoga, pilates or a specific guided meditation session. If done properly, these activities can help us become more in tune with ourselves, physically and emotionally. This can help us deal with tough times, and can improve our day-to-day life.

Enjoy your food

It sounds too simple to be true. But paying attention to your food, what’s on the plate, each mouthful and every taste will help you become more mindful in other areas of your life. You might find you get more pleasure from eating too.

Treat yourself

Take yourself out for a coffee, go for a walk now that summer’s nearly here, or whatever you feel like. But do something enjoyable, do it alone and try to actually experience it. Turn off the mobile and really enjoy the coffee or the warmer breeze on that walk.

Bridging the digital disconnect

The Bridging the Digital Disconnect Report was launched at ReachOut.com’s Technology
for WellBeing Conference 2013.

This report presents the findings of the first part of a three-year research project.

Digital DisconnectResearchers worked with parents, teachers, health professionals and youth workers to find out what their needs are to supporting young people’s mental health.

They also explored how technology could support them in understanding and responding to any youth mental health needs.

Who was behind it?

The research project was carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at the National University of Ireland Galway and ReachOut.com/Inspire Ireland in collaboration with Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre in Australia.

The study

Bridging the Digital Disconnect reports the findings of an extensive needs assessment carried out with parents of young people.

This assessment looked at parents’ views regarding the use of technology, their current use of technology and what they need to help them support their children’s mental health.

355 parents participated via postal questionnaire and 32 (of the 355) parents participated in focus groups.

Key findings

The research found that 70% of parents were likely or very likely to look for help on the internet if their child was going through a tough time. Receiving mental health information from a website was the second most frequently requested information source after a leaflet.

These finding led us to develop this site, www.reachoutparents.com. Sign up for our newsletter to keep updated about any news or ways to get involved.

Download Bridging-the-digital-disconnect (840 KB) for the full report.

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