13 Answers

I have two teens girls, and their emotional health is worrying me, they both keep their emotions in and I know it is affecting them. They have gone through a divorce, a father who is self absorbed and allowed his new wife to emotionally abuse them (simply she would prefer he didn’t have a previous marriage or kids) and my eldest has been through chronic bullying at school. I have tried counselling, neither spoke and convinced the therapist they had no issues. But I can see it, and they appear to take it out on each other .. any ideas on how I can get them to talk to someone and just de stress?

Posted by mom113937, 2nd February 2015

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  • I think it’s very important to be there for them indeed, take time to listen and show true interest. Do fun things together, allocate one on one time with each of them, go outside for nature walks, find support in regards to bullying and stand up for them. In regards to psychologist / counselors; they have to be motivated themselves.

    Also parents and other caregivers have an important part to play, by adopting their own healthy habits and helping children and teens find stress-managing strategies. Some ways parents can take action:

    Model healthy coping. Caregivers can talk with children about how they’ve thought about and dealt with their own stressful situations.
    Let kids be problem-solvers. It’s natural to want to fix your child’s problems. But when parents swoop in to solve every little glitch, their children don’t have a chance to learn healthy coping skills. Let your children try to solve their low-stakes problems on their own, and they’ll gain confidence that they can deal with stressors and setbacks.
    Promote media literacy. Today’s kids spend a lot of time online, where they can run into questionable content, cyberbullying or the peer pressures of social media. Parents can help by teaching their children to be savvy digital consumers, and by limiting screen time.
    Combat negative thinking. “I’m terrible at math.” “I hate my hair.” “I’ll never make the team. Why try out?” Children and teens can easily fall into the trap of negative thinking. When children use negative self-talk, though, don’t just disagree. Ask them to really think about whether what they say is true, or remind them of times they worked hard and improved. Learning to frame things positively will help them develop resilience to stress.

  • Just be there for them. Keep the lines of communication open if they ever do decide to talk to you. Maybe they are opening up to school friends, peers can be enormously helpful in such situations

  • Look up Danielle Miller. She has a blog, does presentations for teen girls – she is amazing. Reach out and see what can be done to help support your kids. Best wishes, I think it is a tough time for the girls but also for you as a mum. You’re doing a great job!

  • Let them know that you are there for them, ready to listen and give them advice. Ask them questions to get them to open up and talk.

  • Perhaps try getting them to write their feels out into a journal. Shops like Typo have some beautiful ones. That way they can they can pour out anything that’s upsetting them in a creative way without fear of someone like a counselor judging. Art therapy may be another good outlet if they’re creative girls. Otherwise I’d say don’t push, just let them know you’re free to talk whenever they want, and just keep the doors of communication open. Knowing you’re a safe space to talk will be a big help, too.

  • there are some amazing resources online and in book form. May I suggest you trust your gut love, you know your child way better than anyone else… keep the lines of communication open, and let her know you have her back x

  • How do you de-stress? Modeling some things can be the best way sometimes. In the evening paint your nails and invite them to join. Get some bath or foot stuff, put 3 seats around the bath and soak your feet with them. (don’t talk about the big issues unless they bring it up). Go bowling, or a trip to the city for coffee. Spend time with them which will create a space for them to talk if they want to. I would also recommend another counsellor in due time. Hope you get through this phase, sounds tough but your doing a good job caring for them.

  • Have a good cry with them… and then remind them that you are there for them, through thick and thin! Tell them anything is up for discussion, no matter what, they can come to you with anything they wish to talk about, and you will never judge them!

  • Make sure that you remind them that no matter what you are there for them and their well being. That you have their back and are willing to listen to anything they may want to say.
    Some time away with the girls too can be beneficial as the last comment said, different place they may open up.
    Joining a sporting or dancing group is also beneficial like the first comment suggested as they are more likely to open up to others that may have experienced the same/similar or worse situations.
    Good Luck!

  • A weekend/time away might be a good idea too, Time to unwind and relax and talk in an environment that is different and at ease. It can help with bonding and talking about feelings and direction.

  • I was taken to a psychologist when at school and I did exactly the same thing until I found someone I was comfortable with and who kind of saw through me. If you are really worried I would suggest maybe shopping around a bit to find someone they are happy to talk to. The school may even be able to assist you

  • Rather rthan focusing on issus you have concerns about, if you and girls individually or together have chats in general about say your childhood memories good as well as bad,non critical chats then it allows them to open up too,do not act shocked or surprised,just listen and then you can work out what to do. I worked as youth worker for young people out of home, getting them accommodation etc but on our travels they then would talk about other issues that bothered them, remaining non judgemental is I feel the key. Going to Counsellors sometimes make some people feel something is wrong with them so they clam up, not just children. hope this helps a lot as realise you want your teenagers to be happy. Teens can be a hard time emotionally in itself too. Chose my picture as it is about learning to trust in this case me and a cockatoo

  • As peculiar as this may sound; maybe they could join a sport or activity or group. The benefits can be wonderful. It can give them an opportunity to exercise and work off/out some of the stress and they are also engaging with other people. Often when kids engage in activities they will relax and unwind and share information. It may be hard for them to talk with you about how they are feeling as maybe they are having a hard to figuring it out. Also; having individual outing time with each child may help. Just a relaxed outing where you shop and have lunch and chat. Maybe if it is relaxed and informal they may talk about how they are feeling. Finally; maybe try a different counsellor. Good Luck.

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