3 Tips for Building Resilience and Well-Being in Teenagers

As many parents know, our teenage years – while memorable and exciting – can also be challenging. Here are 3 tips for building resilience and well-being in teenagers!

1. Encourage them to see failures in a positive light.

We’ve discussed failure many times on our blog before, and for good reason – learning to appreciate our own failures is one of the key components of resilience. We all know that failing isn’t a great feeling, but it’s how we respond to those experiences that helps to build inner strength. 

For many people – especially teens – the natural response to failure is an overwhelming urge to give up or simply stop trying. Instead, encourage your teen to analyze why the situation turned out the way it did. What could have been avoided? How could it have been improved? These types of questions encourage your teen to develop strategies to improve future outcomes. To learn more about why learning to appreciate failure is so important, click here! 

2. Offer an open line of communication without judgment.

It comes as no surprise to anyone that our teenage years are filled with changes – including physical ones. In any case, let your teen know that you’re there to provide an open ear. And we know this term has been somewhat overused by popular media, but having a “safe space” really is important. The goal is to let your teen know that they can communicate with you honestly and without fear of repercussions.

The truth is that teenagers are not always forthcoming with their concerns, thoughts, and feelings – and we’re sure this won’t come as a surprise to most parents. Unfortunately, not engaging in regular communication can be devastating for a teen’s mental health. There are a number of reasons why teens may withhold information, including:

  • Fear of punishment (often due to bad grades, etc.)
  • Embarrassment or shame (physical changes, bullying, etc.)
  • Feelings of isolation (“You wouldn’t get it.”)

At the same time, it’s important to remember that the teenage years are a time for growth and exploration. Many teenage students do not have a fully developed sense of identity yet, so encouraging independence is also a good thing. In fact, studies also confirm that too much parental involvement can be counterproductive. When it comes down to it, simply letting your teen know “I’m here if you ever need anything” is a great way to communicate the message that you respect their privacy but are still always open to listen. 

3. Talk about social media.

This one is really such a big deal that it deserves its own category. Look, we’re not here to trash social media – in fact, we love social media! It’s a great way to communicate with friends, keep in touch with family members, connect with other creators and professionals, and much more. However, it’s important to remember that teenagers are not viewing social media with an adult’s mindset – and this is where problems start to occur.

Recent studies report that 70% of teens hide online behavior from their parents. Let us just say upfront: we’re not telling parents to start snooping around on their teen’s devices. However, it is important to let your kids know that a whole lot of content is available to them online – some of it may be shocking, offensive, or inappropriate. If they end up viewing this content and need to discuss what they saw, let them know you’re there to talk – “no questions asked.” 

We’ve discussed a lot about social media on our blog before, and a primary problem with teens is that they often take online content at face value. Whereas adults may recognize a clear separation between the internet and reality, this distinction is not always so easy for teens to make (especially in an age of filters and apps). 

Furthermore, teenagers often fall into the trap of comparing their own lives to what they view on social media while failing to recognize that what they see online is only a sliver of reality. In general, a discussion with your teen about the potential stressors of social media (and the importance of keeping oneself “grounded”) will help build resilience and encourage emotional well-being. If you’re interested in this topic and want to learn more about how to protect your kids online, we suggest checking out our blog, Living In a World of Likes and Followers: Teaching Kids to Avoid the Strain of Social Media.

Click here for more information on how to build resilience in kids!