Listen and Connect: How Parents Can Support Teens’ Mental Health Right Now | Deborah Farmer Kris | 1 Min Read

There’s no handbook for how to raise teenagers during a pandemic. Adolescents are struggling for valid reasons and many parents are grappling with how to support their teens while also navigating their own pressing concerns. 

Katie Hurley, an adolescent psychotherapist and author of the new book, “A Year Of Positive Thinking For Teens,” says that in her practice, she has seen the toll of these last several months. What do teens need most right now, from her perspective?

“It sounds really simple, but the thing that teenagers are craving the most is connection and listening because this is hard for everyone,” she said.

Take Your Own Emotional Temperature

With so much of school and social life occurring over screens, parents offer their children a vital physical presence. But this can also feel daunting as parents feel the pressure of meeting their family’s physical and emotional needs while also assuming greater responsibility for their children’s schooling.

Hurley encourages adults to check their own emotional thermometer throughout the day. Our children are watching how we react and our responses matter, says Hurley. “Children take their cues first from us, always. We are their people.” But adults do not need to be paragons of positivity. We don’t have to pretend it’s easy, says Hurley. Instead, we can talk about how we are feeling with teens “so that they know that, right now, feeling like you’re on a roller coaster every day is normal.”

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Deborah Farmer Kris is a Senior Parenting Columnist at Intrepid Ed News. This article was originally published on MindShift on Feb. 12, 2019. Click here to read more.

Deborah Farmer Kris

A writer, teacher, parent, and child development expert, Deborah Farmer Kris writes regularly for PBS KIDS for Parents and NPR’s MindShift; her work has been featured several times in The Washington Post; and she is the author of the All the Time picture book series (coming out in 2022) focused on social-emotional growth. A popular speaker, Deborah has a B.A. in English, a B.S. in Education, and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology.Mostly, she loves finding and sharing nuggets of practical wisdom that can help kids and families thrive — including her own. You can follow her on Twitter @dfkris, contact her at [email protected], or visit her website: Parenthood365 (https://www.parenthood365.com/)

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