Valuable references for Parents and Teenagers
The Two Worlds of your Teenager – Sonya Karras and Sacha Kaluri
They understand that while teenagers experience many changes in their lives, there are two big areas that come into full bloom about the same time as each other: social life and thoughts about a career path.
Sonya and Sacha are experts in these two areas. They believe it’s the parent’s job to be well prepared for this often confusing time in their teenager’s life. Then when your children really need help they will confidently come to you, their parents, because you understand what’s really going on. The purpose is to make sure the forever-widening gap between teens and their parents becomes narrower and narrower.
Sonya and Sacha have made it their life’s mission to engage and connect with teenagers on a daily basis to guide them in these areas. They believe the more choices, options and information a teenager is given, the more likely they are to make positive choices, especially when faced with a tricky situation. Their fun, down-to-earth manner readily connects with parents and teens, and makes this an engaging and informative read.
‘The Two Worlds of Your Teenager is practical, punchy and informative much like its authors. It will give you a laugh, help you stay sane. It’s much cheaper than therapy, smarter than Dr Google and more fun than counselling.’ – Susie O’Brien, Herald Sun
Navigating Teen Depression – Gordon Parker and Kerrie Eyers
Professor Gordon Parker AO is currently Scientia Professor of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales and was Executive Director of the Black Dog Institute from 2001 – 2011.
Kerrie Eyers MA (Psych), DipEd, MPH, MAPS is a psychologist, teacher and editor with many years’ experience in mental health, based at the Black Dog Institute.
“At last, a sensible, well-written and incisive description of the most common psychiatric disorder in young people: depression.
Sometimes, trying to detect depression in young people is like trying to pick up mercury with a fork but this book makes the task just that little easier. It is an invaluable resource for people who work with young people in health, education and welfare and should be a standard text for all trainees.” – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg. Dr Michael Carr-Gregg is one of Australia’s highest profile psychologists, author of 10 books, broadcaster and a specialist in parenting, children, adolescents and the use of technology for mental health.
First symptoms of depression often occur during teenage years, and it can be a disturbing and confusing time for families as well as the teenager themselves. How can you tell whether it’s just typical teenage ups and downs that will pass, or something more serious? How can parents, carers and professionals who work with young people best identify and support teenagers with depression?
Experienced clinician and researcher Gordon Parker explains how to systematically identify different mood disorders, and outlines treatment options. He discusses the particular challenges faced by adolescents and approaches to effective management.
Illustrated with moving and informative descriptions from people who suffered depression as teenagers, this is a comprehensive and authoritative guide.
Ways to Help Your Teen
Know the warning signs. It can be difficult to tell whether or not your teen has a mental disorder, but there are certain nonverbal cues and signs you can watch out for.
It can be tough to tell if troubling behaviour in a child is just part of growing up or a problem that should be discussed with a health professional. But if there are signs and symptoms that last weeks or months; and if these issues interfere with the child’s daily life, not only at home but at school and with friends, you should contact a health professional.
Your child or teen might need help if he or she:
- Often feels anxious or worried
- Has very frequent tantrums or is intensely irritable much of the time
- Has frequent stomach aches or headaches with no physical explanation
- Is in constant motion, can’t sit quietly for any length of time
- Has trouble sleeping, including frequent nightmares
- Loses interest in things he or she used to enjoy
- Avoids spending time with friends
- Has trouble doing well in school, or grades decline
- Fears gaining weight; exercises, diets obsessively
- Has low or no energy
- Has spells of intense, inexhaustible activity
- Harms herself/himself, such as cutting or burning her/his skin
- Engages in risky, destructive behaviour
- Harms self or others
- Smokes, drinks, or uses drugs
- Has thoughts of suicide
- Thinks his or her mind is controlled or out of control, hears voices
- Some signals include meticulous or restrained eating (indicative of an eating disorder), oversleeping or exhaustion, extreme mood swings and wearing long sleeves or pants or bandages (to cover up signs of self-harm).
- Educate yourself about mental illnesses. Learning everything you can about mental illness is the first step in knowing how to help someone struggling.
- Talk openly about mental illness. This is the first strategy for most parents, and oftentimes it can be one of the most effective. If your teen is struggling with a mental health disorder, the worst thing you can do is to ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Talking openly and honestly to your teen about depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts reduces the stigma of silence around these issues, and lets your child know that it’s OK to speak up about what they’re going through.
- Have a conversation about drug abuse. Many teens choose to experiment with drugs and alcohol to escape the weight of a mental disorder. While your teen may never try dangerous substances, don’t assume that they won’t — instead, have a discussion about the dangersof drugs and alcohol. If you fear your teen is addicted, talking to them is even more important. Learning the difference between confrontation and conversation is crucial in knowing how to approach the situation.
Are you a friend, relative or partner of a teen with mental illness? There are ways you can help that show you care.
- Be supportive, not enabling.When and if your teen opens up about their mental illness struggles, be patient, and above all, listen. Let your teen know that having a mental health issue doesn’t change how much you love them. It may be difficult, but try not to jump to conclusions or blame certain people, events or situations for what your child is experiencing. It can be all too easy to practice enabling behaviours that do more harm than good, such as offering to do homework or making excuses for their mental illness.
- Don’t use dismissive or judgemental language. When talking to someone who’s struggling, it’s important to think about the way you talk. Platitudes like “Everything’s going to be OK” and “You’ll get over it” do nothing to help someone with a mental health disorder. Instead, ask questions like “How can I best support you right now?” Reassure your teen that they’re not the only one who deals with these issues and that you’re by their side through it all.
- Consult your paediatrician or GP.Your teen’s doctor will be able to give you pointers on how to identify the presence of a mental illness and advice on how to proceed should your teen’s condition worsen. If your teen’s doctor does not provide a diagnosis or referral to another professional, it can be beneficial to seek a second opinion. It’s better to be cautious than let a mental illness fester. How to find a mental health friendly GP..
- Get a referral for a mental health specialist.Talk therapy with a licensed counsellor can go a long way to help someone battling mental illness. Saying something like “It worries me to hear you talking like this; let’s talk to someone about it,” can be the key to broaching the topic of counselling with your teen. Your doctor or health insurance representative will be able to recommend therapy options that fit your budget and align with your child’s needs.
The Ultimate Parent Guide for Protecting Your Child on the Internet
We see news stories about the impact of technology on our everyday lives all the time these days. Many of us started to think about how technology affects us personally. But how many of us have stopped to think about how it affects our children?
85% of mothers said they use technology to keep their children busy.
Kids are receiving their first internet-capable device earlier and earlier. That same study showed that 83% of American households have tablets, and 77% have smartphones.
Even in school, technology is abundant. Teachers set homework that requires online research and tools and use apps to manage that homework.
Technology is always adapting and it’s here to stay, but many do not think about the safety risk in terms of cybersecurity. A recent study revealed a startling figure: 68% of parents never check their children’s online activity. And that online activity increases year after year.
Other valuable information can be found in:
When someone is thinking about suicide
Many of us will notice changes in people around us and get the feeling that “something is not right”. You may not want to say anything for fear of making the situation worse or because you don’t know what to say if they confirm your concerns. While these conversations can be very difficult and confronting, there is a lot you can do.
This resource will give you basic tips to help you talk to someone you are worried may be thinking about suicide.
You can watch it as an online presentation or download it as a printed fact sheet or audio podcast by using the links below by visiting conversationsmatter.com.au.