Checking in With Your Family: 5 Things To Ask Your Adolescent About Their Mental Wellness
As a parent, it's easy to get caught up in the never-ending responsibilities of everyday life. Despite the challenges, it can pay dividends to pause and check in with our loved ones, especially adolescents who may be navigating the challenges of growing up. As a parent, you may not be your teenager's go-to person for talking about how they’re feeling, but you can create an open, supportive and comfortable environment for them if and when they’re ready. Let’s explore five questions you can ask your adolescent to help cue in on where they’re at with their mental health.
1. What's the Emoji for Your Mood Today?
Why not kick off the conversation with a bit of humor? Emojis are the modern-day hieroglyphics, and asking your teen to pick an emoji for their mood can be an easy way to start talking about how they're feeling. It's a playful approach that helps them express themselves without feeling too serious. It also helps to move from the abstract ideas of feelings into the concrete world of images. Adolescent mental health can be a difficult thing to describe in words.
2. If Life Were a Playlist, What Song Would You Be Right Now?
Music is a universal language, and asking your teen to choose a song that represents their current state of mind makes for a light hearted approach to a serious topic. This question not only opens the door to discussing their emotions but also allows for a fun exploration of their taste in music. We all want to feel seen and heard. Connecting over their interests with genuine delight and without judgment can help to strengthen the parent-child bond.
3. Sleep Master or Casual Napper?
Talking about sleep doesn't have to be a snooze-fest. Is your teen struggling with insomnia or are they sleeping restfully through the night? Sleep plays an important role in our body’s ability to regulate hormones and repair itself. Sleep issues may be an indicator of anxiety and lack of sleep can exacerbate underlying mental health issues. Share your own sleep struggles or success stories, to make it a relatable convo about the importance of a good night's sleep.
4. What's Your Go-To Stress Buster Move?
Every teen has their unique way of dealing with stress. Whether it's jamming to music, a quick dance sesh, or just a good ol' laugh, discover each other's secret moves for turning stress into success. Recognizing they deal with stress can help you better pick up on when they might need some extra TLC. Sharing your own stress-busting techniques may be the difference maker between healthy and dangerous coping mechanisms they develop in the future.
5. Let's Plan an Adventure!
Instead of discussing joy and happiness as a concept, turn it into a tangible plan. Ask your teen about things that bring them happiness and excitement. Float the idea of creating a day full of activities that bring everyone happiness. Whether it's trying a new recipe, going for a hike, or having a movie night, make the conversation about happiness and joy more approachable and reinforce the importance of incorporating fun into their routine.
Approachable conversations with your teen about their mental health are key to cultivating strong connections. By infusing a bit of humor and creativity into your talks, you can create an environment where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. So, let the conversation flow and enjoy the journey of understanding and supporting your teen's mental well-being.
If your son or daughter is struggling with adolescent behavioral health issues, call Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center today. Our family knows the struggle of watching a loved one suffer. We helped our child and we can help yours.