Saturday, November 9, 2019

Tending To Teen Depression During the Holiday Season

With the holiday season fast approaching, many families are very eager to spend time together and enjoy some relaxation and bonding after a long and stressful year. The holidays present an opportunity for parents to enjoy some quality time with their children and catch up on the events that have shaped their year. 

However, while holidays are ideally fun and exciting for most teenagers, they can nonetheless be very stressful for some. This is especially true if they have suffered a recent loss of a loved one or if they have a family member who is affected by a terminal illness. It is not very uncommon for teens to suffer from debilitating depression during the holiday season. 

If your teenage son or daughter is struggling with depression during this time, here are some of the tips that you can employ to help them cope with their uncomfortable feelings. 

Ensure they Eat a Healthy Diet

It is very easy for your child to succumb to unhealthy eating habits when dealing with depression during the holidays. They may start binging on unhealthy fast foods to distract them from their feelings, or refuse to eat at all. As their primary caregiver, you should ensure that your struggling teenager partakes a healthy diet in order to promote their physical and mental wellbeing. Make sure that your teenager takes in regular meals with lots of fruits and vegetables. It is also vital that they drink lots of water to keep their bodies healthy. 

Employ Humor to Help them Relax

The physical and mental health benefits of laughter have been proven beyond dispute. Studies have shown that laughter can help reduce blood pressure, release tension in the body muscles and improve metabolism. If your teenager is struggling with depression, helping them to laugh more can greatly help alleviate their negative feelings and promote physical wellbeing. Try sharing jokes with them as often as you can, or watch comedies which they like together with them.

Encourage them to Exercise

Engage in physical exercises can greatly alleviate depression since it helps boost the production of endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. Even a simple exercise like walking or jogging can improve blood circulation in the body and promote better mental and physical health. You should, therefore, encourage your teenager to take part in exercises. Going on morning jogs together, for instance, will not only enable your child to become more active, but it will also allow you to bond with them.

Help them Confront their Negative Thoughts and Feelings

It is very easy for depressed teenagers to fall into a vortex of negative thoughts and feelings which makes it impossible for them to enjoy life. If these issues are not dealt with appropriately, they may lead to suicidal thoughts. To avoid this eventuality, you must support your child in confronting these unwanted thoughts and emotions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help your depressed teenager to examine their thoughts and develop healthy mechanisms of coping with them whenever they arise. 

In Conclusion

The holiday season is supposed to be a time of relaxation and bonding. By applying these tips, you can help your child overcome their depression, so that they can enjoy this festive season along with friends and loved ones.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Dealing With Bullies

Bullying is one of the worst types of abuse that any child can go through. Kids who are bullied tend to be perpetually scared, lonely, and prone to feeling hurt, sick, and embarrassed. Some of the tactics often used by bullies include kicking, hitting, violent pushing, and sometimes mean words intended to tease or scare the victim. Bullies also use threats to make their victims do things they wouldn't otherwise do. 

Bullying is A Massive Problem 

You may not see it in the news every week, but bullying is actually a big problem. Statistically, 75% of all kids report being bullied, teased, or made fun of in their interactions with other kids. The aftermath of this leaves the young victims feeling inadequate and stressed, which can subsequently make them sick. 

Notably, kids who have been bullied may be reluctant to go to school. And even when they go, their minds may only be focused on how to deal with the bully. 

Why Do Bullies Act That Way? 

Most bullies are often driven by attention seeking tendencies - they see it as a way to gain popularity among their peers. Other bullies have an inferiority complex, hence they pick on weaker kids to feel powerful. In contrast, some bullies may have been victims of bullying before. 

Kids who come from dysfunctional families, where violence is a daily occurrence, are also more likely to become bullies, as they may perceive violence as an ordinary act. 

In most cases, bullies will pick on someone they consider weak or powerless. It could be the kid who gets upset fast or the tiny one who can't fight. Sometimes, however, they may just terrorize a random person for no particular reason. 

How to Handle Bullying

Our advice on this depends on your situation. We have highlighted ways to prevent run-ins with bullies, as well as what to do if you get confronted by one.

1) Avoiding Conflicts With Bullies

  • Avoid the bully as much as possible - Instead of skipping class, you may want to change your route home to avoid meeting them outside the safety of the class.
  • Be Brave - Whenever you're in the presence of a bully, stand straight and act brave with a "don't mess with me" attitude.
  • Change Your Attitude About Yourself - Too often, bullies capitalize on your lack of self-esteem. To overcome this, you may want to get more exercise, read more books, and watch less TV. Being fit and performing well in school will do wonders for your self-confidence.

2. If The Bully Pokes You

  • Ignore Them - Pretend you didn't hear what they said about you and quickly walk away to a safe place.
  • Stand up to the bully -Put on a brave face and say something like "Stop It!" as you walk away. 
  • Don't Show Your Feelings - Avoid getting visibly sad or upset in the bully's presence as it emboldens them.
  • Talk to An Adult - If you have a run-in with a bully, confide in an adult, you trust and see how they can help you. It could be your teacher, school administration, parents, or older siblings. Sometimes all it takes to stop a bully are some stern words from an adult.

What Happens to Bullies?

More often than not, bullies end up in trouble, either with the law, or the school authorities. If not, they end up with very few 'true' friends, as everyone else learns to avoid them. Simply put, it doesn't pay to be a bully.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Teens and Mental Health

Today's youngsters are struggling with mental health issues on a scale that's not been seen before. The World Health Organization (WHO) puts the percentage of teens and children experiencing mental health issues globally to be between 10 and 20%. 

Further, according to the American Journal of Managed Care, the years between 2008 and 2017 saw a significant increase in the number of adults suffering from mental health disorders across the majority of adult age groups. However, the biggest increase (71%), was among the younger adult demographic (18-25yrs).

With numerous factors at play, it is difficult to point out the exact cause of the increased physiological distress among teens. Nonetheless, the Pew Research Center opines that 61% of teens in the US admit feeling a lot of pressure to achieve good grades in school. Additionally, 29% of American teens feel under high pressure to look and dress well, while 28% struggle with the pressure to fit in. Seeing as the world is more or less fully interconnected, it is safe to say that teens in other countries also face similar situations. 

Key Factors Shaping The Teen Mental Health Landscape 

Below are some of the most notable factors in regards to the mental health of young adults:

1. Information Overload

We live in a never-ending cycle of news, with both mainstream media and social media churning out news and information every other hour. Consequently, young people are in a constant struggle to keep up with the news to appear cool or knowledgeable to their friends or social media followers. This information overload on young minds causes anxiety, frustration and stress, among others, and consequently leads to mental health problems. 

2. Social Media

With smartphones and the internet guzzling up an unacceptably large portion of our lives, teens are finding it hard to cope with it all. For one, the majority of teens log on to their social media accounts the first thing in the morning, which leaves them vulnerable to peer pressure. It doesn't help that cyberbullying and sexual harassment have taken over most social platforms.

3. Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

First off, most teens are embarrassed to see a therapist due to the social stigma that surrounds mental health care. Admitting to seeing a therapist or having a mental disorder carries a high risk of being branded weak, dumb, or a 'sicko.' As a result, most of the teens choose to hide their emotions, worries and frustrations. 

Fortunately, mental health campaigns by governments and celebrities have seen a slow and steady lifting of stigma around mental health disorders. Hopefully, more young people will seek professional help when in psychological wilderness.

5. Worries About The Future

Everywhere you look, from your TV to your local newspaper or even Instagram, you will see cynical reports about your country or the world. For instance, global warming, Brexit and terrorism are some of the most widely discussed things in our current world.

All these negative news and predictions increase the pressure on young people, who get anxious and concerned about their future lives. Eventually, this affects their lives, both in terms of productivity and mental stability.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Coping With Back To School Anxieties

According to a 2017 study, one in every four parents stays at home to tend to an anxious child. Notably, anxiety is common among school-going children, and it may be caused by several factors, some of which are beyond your child’s control.

Children with back to school anxieties will conjure up all sorts of excuses to remain at home and may become highly irritable. Though this is normal, letting your child stay at home will only enable their fears even further.

Today, we will discuss some of the steps to take to ensure your child transitions into school life seamlessly.  

Start with the Simple Things
A child’s development and temperament is greatly affected when they do not get enough sleep, food, or playtime. All these factors help in nourishing the body and mind, thus making your child more relaxed. 

Ensure that your child eats well and gets a good night’s sleep every school night. This will make them less irritable and more likely to listen to you. 

Do Not Dismiss your Child’s Worries
How do you react when your daughter refuses to go back to school, simply because her friends refused to play with her the previous week? Well, as a parent, you may not take the claims seriously. 

However, your child does not have as much life experience as you. To her, it may seem like the end of the world. Rather than dismiss any worries your child may have, listen and show them you understand, then give them a broader perspective. 

You will be surprised at how reasonable your child is with the right approach. This will also strengthen your bond, and it will be easier for them to come to you with future issues.

Come up with a Lasting Solution 
Once your child displays any anxiety towards school, do not approach it as a one-off situation. For most parents, the priority is getting their kids off to school for the day so that they can attend to other duties. 

However, if you notice any abnormal behavioral changes in your child, you should strive to look into the cause of the problem, and engage your child in creating a lasting solution. This helps to prevent such occurrences in the future. 

Essentially, you should talk with your child and develop a coping mechanism together. You should also discuss other hypothetical situations and help your child see the best ways to handle them.

Be Mindful
Young children learn through observation and mimicking. Your reaction the moment you drop your child off at school is very crucial. For instance, if you seem worried, your child may get the impression that school may not be a good place. You should therefore show excitement for their new chapter, and say your goodbye cheerfully.  

Take Away:
When it comes to dealing with back to school anxieties, patience and empathy are the secret ingredients. Rather than approach your child from a position of authority, level with them, be a friend, and they will be more likely to take your advice positively. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Why Young Athletes Struggle With Mental Health Issues

High school sports used to be all about having fun and learning to work together as a team. This is rapidly changing, and many young athletes now feel that taking part in sports is not so much fun anymore. We really need to ask ourselves if we have made high school sports too professional. Could it be that we are losing some great young athletes because we are placing too much pressure on them? It could very well be the case.

Mental Health and Young Athletes

It is tough enough to take part in athletic events and sports when you are an adult. Imagine what it must be like for young people who are trying to cope with school commitments and taking part in sports at the same time? Putting too much pressure on young athletes can quickly lead to mental health problems. Yes, it is important to exercise, and fantastic when you do well, but participating in the first place is more important. 

Anorexia in Young Athletes

A plethora of factors plays a role when it comes to young athletes and mental health. Do successful young athletes need to pose in skimpy bikinis and promote diet shakes? Body image is part of the mental health picture when it comes to teens and athleticism. Young female athletes are particularly influenced by looks and body image. Maybe professional athletes should focus on sport and avoid doubling up as bikini models. 

Anorexia in young athletes is now very common. It is a serious mental health issue that can stay with someone for the rest of their lives.

Less Pressure More Fun

It is about time we went back to basics and concentrated on having fun instead. Teen athletes often put a lot of pressure on themselves. Pressure can also come from fellow athletes. We all like to do as well as we can, but young athletes often try to compete more against each other than adult athletes.

They want the best results and some even train excessively. Training too much can lead to both physical and mental health issues which will affect school work. When you work with young athletes, it is important to see the full picture. Treat the young person with respect and make sure he or she is happy to keep up with training schedules as well as academic schedules.

Teens like to say yes and as a result, often take on too much. It is up to adult coaches to act responsibly. Looking after both physical and mental health is not easy, but a parental style approach often works the best. Try combining training with fun activities, make sure school work can fit in easily and that all young athletes get time off. If you can do so, you may even come across some fantastic talents. 

Remember that it is better to encourage than to push an athlete. This is very important when you work with young athletes who are also having to deal with the trials and tribulations of growing up. Getting it right often means that you have made a friend for life and giving someone a positive attitude towards their own mental health.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Mental Health: Be aware of the signs

When it comes to mental health, are you taking good care of yourself? The only way to go is to be sure that you are doing the best that you can when it comes to your diet, the amount that you exercise, and your general lifestyle.

As a parent you are only responsible for the children that you have brought into this world and yourself. But what happens when you feel that your children are not only growing up but headed down the wrong path? If you are staying late up at night wondering where they are or worrying over sudden changes in their mood or personality, you're not alone.

You may have felt as though it were just yesterday that they were small. Now they are hitting their teen years and things are getting more challenging. There are a lot of transitions that come along with going through the older years as well as life. They can be emotional as well as trying.

As a parent, you may want to do all that you can to protect them. But as they become teens that are going to be adults you really have to do all that it takes to try and do the right thing. Keep talking to them and keep the lines of communication open.

You want them to have a support system but also pursue resources that are available. Mental health is a tricky subject and you may want to talk to a teacher as well as a psychiatrist. The key thing is to know when you need to ask for help.

You may want to look for signs that your teen is not well. This may include poor grades as well as having a bad attitude. They may be late or may not be home all that much at all. They could also be hanging out with the wrong crowd and just seeming sad or different than they normally are.

A treatment center could be the thing to set them in the right direction again. They have all the tools that can help your teen to adjust during this tough time and do all that they can to be on the right track. If you want to help your child sometimes you have to accept that it is a tough decision that you have to make.

The good news is that there is always something that can be done to help if the teen wants to accept help. Get in touch to find out more and you may educate yourself more on a topic that you thought you knew how to fix. We cannot control how the disease progresses or whether mental health is present but we can control how we react to it and what we do to help the people that we love to get better and not to be sick anymore.
sure that you are doing the best that you can when it comes to your diet, the amount that you exercise, and your general lifestyle.

Treatment may be the best course of action. Find out more by getting in touch and see whether the answers may be waiting for you and your child together today so that you can move forward to the future.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Signs That Your Teen May Be Stressed

Teenagers may not have the same set of responsibilities that adults do when it comes to career  and taking care of the family, but they are well aware that it is within their future. Even though it may not be there at the present moment, they still experience stress.

Teens can deal with all types of issues, situations, and emotions. Problems with academics, grades, tests, peer pressure, bullying, sports, socializing and more can all affect a teen and cause stress. A teen that does not have the right amount of support may be at more risk for problems with mental health and their health as well as academics.

For this reason, it's a good idea to look out for signs that your teen may be stressed. Check out these signs that your teen may be too stressed so you can help them out and provide resources and suggestions and find ways to help them.

1. Getting headaches or stomach aches.

Sometimes stress can manifest as a physical health problem. If your teen is getting headaches or stomach aches on a regular basis, it may be due to stress.

2. Issues with sleeping.

Some people have a tough time going to sleep or staying there, which can be a sign that you're stressed. The cycle can continue, where less sleep means that they can't handle stress. Too much sleep may be a sign of stress as well, when they're trying to sleep a lot on weekends or go to bed right after school. They may be trying to get away from their stress.

3. Having problems with their education.

Problems with stress can often come from school issues. Academic problems might also be a sign that your teen's too stressed. Grades going down or attendance or issues getting work done might be related to stress.

4. More irritability than usual.

Teens can be moody and irritable, but a teen that is stressed out will usually be even more irritable than they are on a regular basis. If a teen is getting irritated or reacting to small inconveniences, they may be having a tough time navigating life or be struggling with a certain issue.

5. Retreating from socializing.

The social habits of the average teen are going to be changed by stress. Isolation from friends or activities that they enjoy could be a sign that they're struggling with stress.

6. Bad changes in behavior.

Sometimes, behavior problems can come from a teen being stressed. You may see more problems in behavior. Address it and ask what's wrong before setting limits to see what's wrong.

7. Having a tough time concentrating.

Teens have a tough time concentrating on the work that they do. They might be distracted easily or have difficulty focusing while doing school work. 

8. Worrying a lot.

They may seem to be worrying more than normal. Teens react to a lot, but if yours seems to be always worried or having anxiety, you may want to try and get them into counseling.

Have a conversation or encourage your teen to develop stress management techniques. Talk to them about speaking with a counselor or therapist and dealing with their stress head on.