As the seasons begin to change and the phrase “Back to School” loses its strength, students begin to face the daily grind of early mornings and late nights. As the school year continues, many teens may experience new psychological stressors or be faced with ones they are all too familiar with, and their ability to work through these stressors might be tested and may lead to struggles with their mental health.
EXAMPLES OF STRESSORS
Stressors can present themselves in many different shapes & forms, from adjusting to a new school year, to stress related to their personal life, to romantic partners, or even perhaps sports, each of these (or some combination of these) can leave a teenager feeling overwhelmed with their emotions, and in need of an outlet to express themselves. These emotions can be confusing and difficult to describe, especially in a time of distress.
USING CODEWORDS DURING A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS
How many times has a parent asked twenty-one questions just to decipher how their child is feeling? What if we recommended a new kind of communication between concerned parents and their children? A conversation that is short, simple, and effective. At Ridgeview Institute, we refer to this as the ‘codeword’.
In this context, a codeword can be described as a discreet way for a child to tell a parent what they are feeling, without having to use words like “depression” or “social anxiety”. For example, if a child is feeling anxious, they can whisper the codeword to their parent. This codeword can be anything the child chooses which also allows the child’s voice to be heard. The word can be as simple as a color, such as “Blue.”
The codeword system requires prior discussions between parent and teen during a calm state. With prior communication, not only will you find a system that works but the opportunity for discussion on mental health is created and a healthy dialogue between family members will open.
So before the next time emotions begin to rise in your home, take fifteen minutes to speak with your child. These discussions may prove vital for creating a culture of healthy communication and may change the overall dynamic in your home.
For more information on the services provided for teen mental health, please call Ridgeview Institute 24/7 at (678) 635-3500, our mental health staff is ready to assist your loved one whenever the need arises.