According to psychological statistics, only 45% of Generation Z report that their mental health is good. For comparison, over 50% of Millennials and Generation X report positive mental health levels. In other words, teenagers are more likely to experience anxiety and depression than we were at their age.
It is hard to pinpoint an exact cause for their mental health challenges. Experts consider the rise of social media causing self-esteem issues, the long-lasting pandemic effects, and the intense feeling of isolation they experience in a world led by technology. Regardless of the cause, it can be helpful to introduce soothing routines to the household.
Creating a journaling habit
Writing down thoughts can help to understand and express how one feels. A journal routine can prove highly effective for young adults and teens to manage stress and anxiety levels. They can use the journal to dump their thoughts, which can also give them enough insight to identify triggers or negative patterns. Journaling also brings a sense of organisation, as your teen can create to-do lists and future plans. Ticking off items on the list can give a sense of achievement and make them feel more in control.
Some parents also use a shared journal to communicate with their teens. You could encourage them to write about their worries or thoughts, and you can seize the opportunity to reply using the same format. It can enhance communication between you two.
Stop demonising their lifestyle preferences
When I was your age, I didn’t need those things.
Comparing your childhood to theirs is unfair and irrelevant. You didn’t grow up with the same level of technology. As a result, things such as social media and video games were hobbies. But, for today’s teenagers, they are a normal part of everyday life. As such, it’s important to understand how those can affect their mental health. Indeed, social media can also help them reach out to a community and build their identities. Video games can help them relax after a stressful day. So, why not let them know that you accept them as they are rather than imposing a different lifestyle? Smart and practical gaming beds, for instance, can provide an organised retreat to play and relax. While it is important to have a chat with them about the risks of excessive playing, ranging from eye strain to live streaming bullying, showing trust and respect for their lifestyle can create a safe environment for them to confine themselves in you.
Help them build a well-being routine
What is your morning routine to get ready for the day? Perhaps, you enjoy getting up early, writing down your thoughts, and reading a book with a cup of matcha tea. Or you like early morning yoga while everyone is still asleep. It can be helpful to share your morning routine with your teen. They may not want to accompany you. But they can find inspiration and develop their own feel-good recipe. You can suggest ideas or even try new things out with them while they figure out what works for them.
Anxiety and depression grow rapidly when teenagers feel misunderstood. But, as a parent, you can play a significant role in creating a home in which they can relax safely.