As a parent, you want the best for your child, which is why teenagerhood can be so traumatizing for parents and their children. It is not just that they are growing up, it is that their bodies are fighting a war of hormones and chemicals. Peer pressure added into this mix can turn a normal thought into a dangerous obsession. It can push one cheat day into a pervasive bad habit.
You can feel hopeless a lot as a parent, but that is why educating yourself and prioritizing an open, trusting relationship with your child is so important. You will not know everything. You cannot know everything, but with this guide, you can do the best for your daughter as she grows through this tumultuous time.
Research and Understand Mental Illnesses, Together
There is no reason to secretly look up mental illnesses. It is, in fact, far better to research and learn about the common symptoms and signs of mental illnesses, eating disorders, and addictions with your daughter. Even if she never experiences these herself, knowing about them can help her spot signs in her friends and get them the help that they need.
Awareness is the most crucial step because by being aware, you can both spot the early signs of a problem. Knowing won’t necessarily stop a problem from occurring, but it can help the person understand what is going on with them and allow them to get help from centers like Eden Treatment early.
Encourage an Open, Trusting Relationship
You will not see mental illness, only the symptoms it leaves behind. If your relationship with your daughter is not great, then you will not be privy to these symptoms either. By encouraging an open, trusting relationship, your daughter will come to you when something is wrong.
To encourage such a relationship, try:
Make Honesty a Policy
Though there are things you will always want to hide from your children (your sex life, any money troubles, etc.), it is a good idea to be as honest as possible. Talk about how you feel about your experiences as a teenager and so on so that she, in turn, can feel comfortable talking about her innermost thoughts.
Do not Worry Too Much About Being the “Perfect” Parent
Being perfect is the easiest way to have a strained relationship. You can be messy. You can use your past experiences as a lesson for your daughter and being honest about the struggles you have today and how you fight them can help her gain the courage to follow suit.
Make it Normal to Talk About Feelings and Mental Health
Making it normal to talk about feelings and your mental health should be a norm in every home. Many times issues fester over time because they cannot be resolved early on, and by making it a point to go through your whole household and asking what you did that day, how you felt, and so on can do wonders for the wellbeing of your entire family.
Though early detection is best, there is no time like the present. Do not wait until you suspect something is going on. Educate yourself now so that you can help yourself, your daughter, and all your other loved ones now and in the future.