Teenagers face many problems today that were unheard of twenty years ago. These new challenges can make it hard for you to realize just how much your teen is struggling. They face uncertain futures because of the precarious nature of the economy. The cost of living keeps going up, but the minimum wage isn’t being elevated quickly enough to allow for any financial security. Tuition gets more expensive by the day, and scholarship opportunities are more competitive than ever.
These are just a few of the challenges that teens face everyday. Unfortunately, most teens aren’t taught coping strategies at school, so they seek comfort wherever they can find it. Many teens seek solace online because of the diverse offering of content the internet provides. If you’re worried your teen is addicted to some platform on the internet, there are several things you need to keep in mind in order to help them overcome their problem.
Be Supportive Instead of Controlling
Teens don’t need someone to micromanage their time to prevent them from engaging in addictive behavior; they need someone who will listen to them and support them. Controlling your teen will only hinder their maturity from developing, so teach them how to manage their own affairs in a responsible manner. Be a source of support for your teen instead of just another source of conflict.
Realize That They Aren’t Doing It to Hurt You
Many parents often interpret adolescent behavior as an intentional attempt on the teen’s part to hurt them. Your teen is dealing with numerous challenges that they don’t know how to cope with in a functional manner. Their need to endure those challenges far outweighs any petty urges they may have to hurt you. Keep this in mind when interacting with your teen, because they need your guidance and comfort more than ever.
Show Them That There is Strength in Emotional Expression
Addiction isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a medical condition that is beyond your teen’s control. Don’t teach your teen to feel weak just because they give in to their emotions. Instead, create an environment in your home that encourages your teen to freely express their emotions in a healthy way. If your teen feels comfortable opening up to you, they are less likely to engage in addictive behavior.
Give Them Easy Access to Healthy Pastimes
The best way to prevent your child from engaging in unhealthy activities is to give them plenty of opportunities to engage in functional activities. If you don’t want them to spend hours gambling online or looking at porn websites, give them access to acceptable activities. Pay attention to their interests, and give them outlets for those interests. Internet use isn’t inherently negative, so don’t rule it out completely. Participating in healthy activities is an important tool that will help your teen cope with their stress in a functional way.
Addiction is a legitimate disorder that is beyond the sufferer’s control, and it’s a hard condition to live with. If you teach your teen healthy ways to cope with stress, then they are more likely to overcome their addictions. Teenagers today have to be strong in order to deal with their daily challenges, but with your guidance, they can become even stronger.