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A Guide to Nurturing Emotional Well-Being for Tweens and Teens

November 1, 2023

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Navigating the adventure of tween and teen years can challenge emotional well-being, bringing both excitement and its fair share of challenges. It’s common to feel anxious or down, but we’re here to help you and your parents manage these feelings together. Let’s explore five essential things to know for maintaining a healthy emotional state.

Taking Care of The Whole You

When it comes to feeling your best, it’s not just about one thing – it’s about a bunch of things coming together.

Eat Right and Get Moving: Believe it or not, what you eat and how much you move can impact your mood. Having a balanced diet and staying active can boost your mood. So, try to munch on colorful fruits and veggies and find activities you enjoy, like dancing, playing sports, or even just taking a walk with your pet.

Talk It Out: If you’re feeling worried or blue, talking to someone you trust can be a game-changer. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with your parents or a friend can help you feel better. They offer a fresh perspective or a comforting presence that can make a big difference.

Be You: You are totally unique, and that’s what makes you awesome! Embrace your interests, talents, and quirks. These are like your personal tools for feeling happier. Whether you love painting, writing, sports, or even just hanging out with your friends, these things make you who you are – and that’s something to celebrate.

Parents: Your Super Support Team

Your parents are here to back you up and help you through anything. Here’s how they can be your support superheroes:

Show the Way: Your parents have some cool tricks for handling stress, like deep breathing or taking time to relax. When you see them doing these things, give it a shot – it might work for you too! Remember, they’re learning from you, too, so if you share your cool ways to chill out, they might even learn something new.

Talk Together: Sharing your thoughts and worries with your parents helps them understand you better. And they might have some great advice or solutions to help you. It’s like having a team that’s got your back, ready to come up with ideas together.

You’re Strong Together: Your parents are there to guide you, but they also want you to become a pro at handling things on your own. It’s all about growing stronger together. As you learn how to tackle challenges and cope with feelings, you’re building skills that will help you both now and in the future.

Getting Expert Help

Sometimes, a little expert advice can go a long way. Reach out for help when you need it.

Talk to Pros: Doctors, therapists, and school counselors are like the superheroes of feelings. They’ve got special skills to help you understand and manage your emotions. Just like you might ask a teacher for help with a tough homework problem, asking these pros for guidance can make a big difference in navigating your emotions.

Check Out Cool Books: There are some amazing books and websites out there that are all about dealing with tough feelings. Exploring these resources can give you new tools to handle your emotions. You can find stories from people who’ve been through similar situations and learn from their experiences.

Connect with Others: Joining groups where people are going through similar experiences can be really comforting. It helps you see that you’re not alone on this journey. Sharing your feelings and listening to others can create a sense of belonging and support, even when things feel tough.

The Mind-Body Connection

Believe it or not, your mind and body are connected. Taking care of one can actually help the other!

Sleep and Food: Getting enough sleep and eating good, nutritious food can have a big impact on how you feel. It’s like giving your emotions a boost of positive energy. So, try to catch those Z’s and aim for colorful meals with lots of veggies and whole grains.

Try Calming Tricks: Have you ever heard of mindfulness or deep breathing? These are like secret weapons for feeling calmer. They help you relax and stay focused. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, taking a few deep breaths or trying a short mindfulness exercise can help you feel more centered.

Move Your Body: Doing physical activities can make you feel happier. Your body releases happy chemicals when you move! So, find something active that you enjoy, whether it’s playing sports, riding your bike, dancing to your favorite tunes, or just going for a walk.

Finding Your Calm

When things get tough, it’s good to have some tricks up your sleeve to stay calm, cool, and collected.

Do What Works for You: Everyone is unique, meaning what helps you feel better might be different from what helps someone else. Whether drawing, listening to music, or spending time in nature, find what makes you feel good. Experiment with various activities and see what resonates with you.

Solve Problems: Learning to solve problems step by step can be super empowering. Facing challenges with a clear mind and a plan can help you feel like you’re in control. So, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, break the situation down into smaller parts and brainstorm possible solutions.

Enjoy Good Distractions: Sometimes, doing things you love – like reading, drawing, or just spending time with your pet – can take your mind off worries. These activities give your mind a break. It’s like hitting the refresh button on your thoughts and emotions.

Action Steps: What Do I Do First?

Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Don’t worry – we’re here to help you take those first steps toward feeling better.

  • Chat with Your Parents: Your parents care about you more than you might realize. Let them know how you’re feeling. It might sound tough, but opening up about your emotions can bring you closer together and help them support you.
  • Try Something New: Sometimes, the simplest changes can make a big difference. Pick one thing from each section that resonates with you. Whether it’s going for a bike ride, writing in a journal, or talking to a school counselor, taking action can kick-start positive changes.
  • Be Patient: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same goes for feeling better. Remember, these changes take time. Be patient with yourself and your journey to improved emotional well-being. Small steps can lead to big progress over time.

How Do I Talk to My Parent? (Tween/Teen Perspective)

Tackling a conversation with your parents about your feelings might feel a bit tricky, but it’s a step toward getting the support you need. Here’s a simple roadmap:

  • Find the Right Time: Pick a time when both you and your parent can chat without distractions. This makes the conversation more focused and comfortable. It might be during a car ride, a quiet moment at home, or a walk in the park.
  • Be Honest: Sharing your feelings honestly is the key. Remember, your parents care about you deeply, and they want to know what’s going on in your life. Be open about your thoughts and emotions, even if they seem a bit jumbled.
  • Use “I” Statements: When you’re sharing your feelings, try using “I” statements instead of “you” statements. Instead of saying, “You make me feel…” try saying, “I feel…” This helps your parents understand your emotions without feeling defensive. For example, “I feel overwhelmed when I have a lot of homework” is a great way to start.

How Do I Talk to My Teen/Tween Without Upsetting Them? (Parent Perspective)

As a parent, you want to be a source of support without causing additional stress. Here’s a roadmap to help you have meaningful conversations:

  • Be a Good Listener: When your child opens up, let them share their feelings without interrupting. This shows that you respect their thoughts and emotions. Sometimes, just being a listening ear can make a huge difference.
  • Stay Calm: If your child opens up about their feelings, stay calm. This creates an environment where they feel safe and supported. Remember, your response sets the tone for the conversation.
  • Ask Open-Ended Questions: Instead of yes-or-no questions, ask questions that encourage them to share more. This can lead to deeper conversations and help them feel that you genuinely want to understand what they’re experiencing.

Community Choice Is Here For You

At Community Choice Pediatrics, we’re here to support you. Our team of compassionate and experienced professionals is ready to help with any health questions or feelings you may have. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for guidance or information about our new behavioral health center. We’re here for you.

Remember, growing up has its highs and lows, but you’re never alone. You and your parents can use these tips to make your journey smoother. Keep shining bright, and don’t hesitate to ask for help whenever you need it!