As parents, life can be stressful, even overwhelming at times, and it’s easy to look back at our teen years with fondness and longing. But as with many of our long-lost memories, we often view them through rose-coloured glasses, forgetting the challenges that came with teen life.
As a mum of teens myself, I get it. But when we take the time to come up for air and really look at our teens, the reality is, those teenage years aren’t all cupcakes and rainbows.
“Stress is a normal part of life and can even be beneficial in some situations,” says Senior Psychologist and Clinical Lead at ReachOut, Linda Williams.
“However, the teenage years are a time of transition, a lot of firsts in life and hormonal changes, all of which can be stressful and in some cases that stress can start to impact a teen’s wellbeing and mental health.”
In a digital world full of easily accessible information and social media, the waters are even murkier than they used to be. And the terrain, even trickier for parents.
“At ReachOut, we hear from many parents and carers that it can be difficult to relate to the experiences of their teens,” says Williams.
"Social media is a good example of a massive shift from one generation to another. For many parents and carers, concepts such as navigating online friendships or trolling can feel really foreign."
What we can relate to though, are those core feelings such as feeling worried, sad or frustrated. Focusing on providing emotional support, rather than trying to fix the problem, is often the best approach.