So what really goes into the mix to help a teen through serious times of distress or anxiety? Family therapists point to some very important ingredients in nurturing healthy relational commitment through life’s challenges.
1. The quality of a parent’s response
If your child is struggling it is very helpful to connect with your child in a calm manner. Calm and distress are contagious emotional responses. Even if you’re anxious about how to respond if you can hold a calm front this can be a very helpful way of reducing your child’s distress.
2. Being approachable
An overly critical or dismissive approach will only foster feelings of resentment or anxiety. An open and approachable response on the other hand can be a significant buffer as your child learns in times of significant distress or negative feelings they can turn to you for comfort and guidance.
3. Taking your child’s challenges, thoughts and feelings seriously
By providing respectful and supportive responses as a parent you are helping your child build a reality that you can be there for them when they need it and will step back when they don’t. This builds trust, reduces conflict and helps them to step out independently knowing they have a safe base to go when things aren’t ok.
Finally, remember that conflict presents as an opportunity to build your relational commitment to each other. After all a house, car or job will never offer the same fulfilment as a lifelong connection between you and your child.
We look forward to learning about you and helping where we can. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.