As teenagers mature, discussing certain topics with parents may become challenging. Mental health is often one of these sensitive subjects, and at times, the origins of troubling thoughts or feelings may not be clear. The stigma attached to mental health issues can further hinder individuals from seeking assistance.
Initiating a conversation about mental health with parents or caregivers can pose challenges. However, with some thoughtful planning, making this dialogue more manageable is possible.
One thing you should always have at the back of your mind is that your parents love you, and no matter what you tell them you are going through they will always stand beside you and go beyond the world to get you the help you need. It’s also essential to recognize that seeking help is not a sign of weakness, and expressing your emotions can bring significant relief.
Are you confused as to how to go about talking to your parents about your mental health? Here are a few tips to help you;
1. Prepare What You Want To Say To Them
When facing the challenge of discussing your mental health, consider creating a script or jotting down key points to guide the conversation. Avoid the pressure of memorizing an entire speech—brief bullet points will suffice. When planning your message, emphasize the impact of your symptoms on your daily life. Acknowledge that occasional feelings of sadness or anxiety are normal for teenagers, but express how persistent issues like anxiety or depression are affecting your actions. Share specific examples, such as avoiding activities that are important to you, distancing yourself from friends, or experiencing difficulty sleeping at night.
2. Select An Appropriate Moment For The Conversation
Timing is crucial when broaching the subject of your mental health with your parents. Opt for a time when everyone is available and not preoccupied with other responsibilities. Ensure you have their full attention, avoiding moments of distraction or busyness. Additionally, choose a time when you are not in the midst of a crisis. Selecting a moment free from immediate stressors prevents the risk of misinterpretation, ensuring your parents understand the importance of the conversation rather than dismissing it as a reaction to a temporary upset.
3. Tell Them Ways They Can Support You
It’s possible that your parents may not be aware of how they can assist you. Take some time to consider specific ways they can provide support, such as helping you book appointments with a GP or psychologist or regularly checking in on your well-being. Providing them with steps ensures a clearer understanding of how they can contribute positively to your mental health. Additionally, share what might be less helpful, such as overly frequent inquiries about your emotional state, allowing for effective communication and a more supportive environment.
4. Seek For More Support
If discussing your mental health with your parents feels overwhelming to handle alone, consider involving a supportive figure. Confide in your school counselor or a trusted relative, explain your situation, and request their assistance in communicating with your parents. Alternatively, share your symptoms with your doctor, who can relay the message to your parents. Recognize that parents may be more receptive to information from authoritative figures.
Rather than relying solely on others to convey your message, you can also practice the conversation with your support team.
5. Prepare For Your Parent’s Reaction
It’s important to avoid excessive stress and overthinking that could lead you to kill the conversation prematurely. Mental preparation for possible reactions can help you remain composed. Consider different scenarios, such as parents making you feel guilty by emphasizing the life they provide for you. In response, acknowledge their efforts while expressing your difficulty in understanding your feelings and the need for assistance.
Some parents might perceive your struggles as typical teenage moodiness. Clarify how your emotions impact your daily responsibilities to provide a deeper understanding. Even well-meaning parents may react with shock or defensiveness. Allow them time to process the information or consider involving a professional to facilitate the conversation.
Opening up to your parents about your struggles can be tough. While some parents may find these conversations uncomfortable or evoke feelings of fear and sadness, many would agree that enduring these emotions is worthwhile to understand and support their child.
Additionally, plan something enjoyable for yourself after the conversation, whether it’s a walk to your favorite spot or a meet-up with a friend. Taking care of your well-being is crucial during challenging moments. By actively reaching out for support and involving others who care about your well-being, you can create a network that helps you navigate difficult conversations with your parents and provides ongoing support as you work through your challenges.