Five Self-Care Ideas for Parents of Teens
May 1, 2023
Being a parent is hard work. The same can be said for being a teenager. For both groups of people, it may sometimes feel like your world is spiraling out of control. The relationship between parents and teens also brings its own set of challenges. As a parent, practicing balancing all your needs is crucial for maintaining a healthy mindset as you support your teen. Let these self-care ideas for parents of teens prompt you to consider which strategies may be effective for your wellness and your relationship with your teen.
Adolescence Is Stressful
According to the World Health Organization (2022), adolescence is a unique stage of human development in which youth between the ages of 10 and 19 experience rapid growth physically, cognitively, and psychosocially. This stage of development can be very stressful for teens and parents. About one-fifth (20%) of teens will experience depression by the end of their teen years. Teaching teens self-care strategies benefit mental and physical health.
As a parent of teens, you may be dismayed when you feel you cannot help, or your relationship is not where you would like it to be. Having gone through adolescence themselves, parents might take their teens moods personally. Remember how you felt during this time and gain perspective about what they’re going through. One recommendation: if you’re a parent of a teenager, don’t take your teen’s mood personally.
Create a Circle of Support with Parents of Teens
Having a circle of support with other parents of kids the same age, who are likely having similar experiences, is beneficial to parents and their teens. You can create a circle of support by building and maintaining relationships with other parents. In this circle, parents can share concerns, ideas, and strategies for helping their kids and supporting each other.
Parents can assist their teens by taking care of themselves. If a parent does not regulate their own emotions, their teen will struggle with regulating theirs. A part of taking care of yourself is taking time for yourself. Having time to focus on yourself allows you to recharge and care for your needs.
Self-care reduces stress and anxiety levels while increasing self-compassion. Modeling self-care for teens helps them with any challenges they may face, including emotional challenges associated with adolescence.
Teens who have effective coping skills have a lower risk of developing depression during this time in their life. Teaching them stress management and coping skills to keep in their back pockets can ease the transition from childhood.
Self-Care Ideas for Parents of Teens
Here we offer a handful of self-care ideas for parents of teens. Choose at least one strategy to try this week!
1) Practice Meditation and Breathing Exercises
Meditation can provide a sense of calm and help with stress. It is a skill that, with practice, can benefit both parents and teens.
- Breathing exercises, such as box breathing, can be done in minutes and help calm our nervous system.
- Meditation does not have to be practiced by just sitting in silence. Try yoga or a walking meditation.
- Explore mindful eating. You and your teen can practice and calm your nervous system by eating a raisin mindfully.
- Try yoga or a walking meditation.
2) Take Care of Your Physical Hygiene
Personal hygiene and taking care of medical conditions are also a part of self-care. It can be cause for concern when a person does not participate in routine hygiene and personal care daily, like brushing their teeth, showering, eating, drinking water, exercising, or taking care of medical conditions.
The consequences are physical and emotional. While different cultures have different personal hygiene expectations, lack of personal hygiene, when it is a change from usual behavior, can be a sign of depression.
Think of it like this: if you play a sport and become sweaty, you will probably want to shower and to be comfortable. If you stayed sweaty, it would be tough to concentrate on anything but how uncomfortable you feel.
Routine tasks like taking a shower and brushing one’s teeth contribute to our physical and emotional health. Screier spoke with Dr. Tiffany Wong, a clinical psychologist. She stated that taking care of our physical hygiene helps us keep a stable mood, helps us stay motivated, and helps us stay engaged in activities.
3) Appreciate Nature
According to Weir being in nature is associated with a decrease in mental distress, increased happiness, better social interactions, and a sense of meaning and purpose in life. When in nature, you can focus on your five senses: What do you see? What do you feel? What do you hear? What do you taste (this could be something that you last ate or nothing at all)? What do you smell?
Focusing on these questions while appreciating the sights and animals in nature can keep parents focused on the now.
4) Communicate With Friends
Communication with friends positively impacts your health while taking care of your social needs. Friends can increase your sense of happiness and purpose and boost your self-confidence and self-worth. They can also motivate you, comfort you, and give you their perspectives on situations you may struggle with. While trying to support your teen, gathering feedback and advice from friends who care can be a huge boost to your mental health.
5) Write It Down
Journaling is an effective way to participate in self-care. The benefits of adding journaling to your self-care routine include being more mindful, having a better memory, and improving communication skills (Phelan, 2018). You can get it off your mind by writing down what happens during the day.
When we ruminate on things we have to do, or things that have happened, we can become overwhelmed, and our brain wants to shut down. Writing down these feelings and emotions helps you process the situations and leave them on paper, not in your head.
Your turn, Parents of Teens! Time to Practice Self-Care
What self-care idea stands out to you? Pick one that feels like it can fit into your schedule and practice this week. If you like how it feels, try adding another idea in a couple of weeks.