With end of year exams, this is a tough time for teenagers – and parents. Some take their parents on a pre-exam emotional rollercoaster ride of a lifetime. Others seem so unmotivated that their parents worry they’ll miss the ride altogether. And pre-exam stress isn’t the only problem; post exam blues can be just as, if not more difficult for teens and worrying for parents. The best thing we can do to help our children is to listen and let them know that we understand how they feel. This isn’t always easy. It can be so tempting to tell them to buck up and get on with it and to rehash the harsh realities their ancestors overcame during wars and famines. But they will feel far better if we simply acknowledge that it’s tough for them.
The trouble is, not all children bounce back from tough times. Whether it’s down to test trauma, foul friends, parent problems, weight worries or whatever, sometimes we are right to worry about them. So how do we know when our child needs help? I interviewed Teenage Mental Health First Aid Advisor Dick Moore about how to tell if your teenager is depressed or might take their own life. You can see the videos and read Dick’s article on my website, karendoherty the site for Parenting and Family Wellbeing.