Helping your teen deal with change
12 - 18 years
Change is a fact of life—sometimes good, sometimes bad. Here are some tips for helping your teen manage change, stay positive and keep learning:
- All teenagers experience change at school—new teachers, different classes, new timetables. Some will also experience changes in friendships or family circumstances. Sometimes these changes can affect their learning, but they don’t have to.
- Encourage your teenager to see change as an opportunity—the chance to gain new skills, to grow, to learn something new, to think and move outside the square.
- Help them to put things in perspective. Encourage your teen to take a step back, give themselves time, and think about when they’ve dealt with a similar change in the past.
- Fear of the unknown can make change more difficult, so help your teen learn more about what’s happening. If they’re changing school, for example, encourage them to find out more about the new school—look at their website, arrange a school tour, meet their year coordinator or one of their new teachers.
- Keep up a regular routine. Having a predictable routine at home can help teens to feel safe and secure, and can provide stability in a time of change.
- Encourage your teen to talk to someone about how they are feeling. Sometimes the best person to talk to will be you, but other times it will be a friend, a teacher, another relative or a mentor. If they are finding it hard to cope with change, encourage your teenager to talk to someone like a school counsellor, doctor, or support service.
- Give your teen the chance to get away from it all, mentally or physically. Even a short break doing something completely different can help to create a new perspective. Encourage them to take a walk in the park, watch a movie, visit an art gallery, or go out for an ice-cream with you.
- Make sure your teen gets enough sleep, nourishment and exercise. Healthy minds and bodies are better equipped to cope when something out-of-the-ordinary occurs.
With these strategies and your support, your teenager may be better equipped to cope with most changes without an impact on their learning. If you are worried, check out the resources below for more ideas and specialist support.
Online resources include ReachOut and Student Wellbeing Hub.