Parenting tips: Navigating the link between mental health and behaviour in your teen
By understanding the link between mental health and behavior in adolescents, parents can better support their teens and promote their overall well-being.
As parents, it can be challenging to navigate the ups and downs of adolescence, especially when it comes to our teenagers' behaviour. It's not uncommon for teenagers to act out or struggle with emotional regulation during this developmental phase, but it's important to recognize that there may be underlying mental health concerns contributing to their behaviour. By understanding the link between mental health and behaviour in adolescents, parents can better support their teens and promote their overall well-being. Check out some tips and strategies for navigating this link and fostering healthy communication and coping skills for your teen. (Also read: Teenage hygiene: Practical strategies for parents to instil good hygiene habits in adolescents )
“In the past year, we have seen a rise in adolescents who engage in self-harm or have suicidal ideation that seeks therapy from school counsellors. On one hand, it’s an alarming concern that needs to be explored on an institutional level by all schools and institutes, on the other hand, it’s a new benchmark for psychologists and educators that they are able to help more students and create safe spaces where they feel empowered to seek help and voice it. Previously, the majority of the students would have felt uncomfortable seeking out the counsellor due to the taboo around it", says, Divya Sharma, Psychologist and Chief Learning Officer and Chetan Jaiswal, Founder, MyPeegu. They further shared with HT Lifestyle, the important link between mental health and behaviour in adolescents.
There is a strong link between mental health and behaviour in adolescents. In some cases, mental health problems can manifest in problematic behaviours. For example, an adolescent experiencing depression may withdraw from social interactions and activities that they previously found joy in or have difficulty concentrating on tasks. Similarly, someone with anxiety may exhibit avoidance behaviours or have panic attacks in response to certain triggers. However, not all behaviours are necessarily indicative of mental health issues, as behaviour can also be influenced by cultural, societal, and personal factors.
Mental health problems such as anxiety or depression can lead to a range of negative behaviours, including aggression, self-harm, and social withdrawal. Adolescents with mental health problems may experience difficulties in managing their emotions and may have poor impulse control, which can lead to impulsive and risky behaviours such as drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm, and risky sexual behaviours. Additionally, mental health problems can affect an adolescent's social skills, self-esteem, and sense of self-worth, leading to difficulties in social relationships, academic performance, and overall functioning.
It is important to address mental health problems early on to prevent negative behaviours from developing and to support adolescents in developing healthy coping mechanisms and positive behaviours. This can involve a range of interventions, including therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress management techniques.