Lending an Ear: How to Make Your Teen Feel Comfortable Opening Up to You

Relationship dynamics between parent and child can sometimes feel like navigating through a maze. With many twists, turns, and dead ends, communication often feels painful and confusing. As parents, we want our children to feel comfortable confiding in us, yet sometimes it seems they would rather hole up in their bedrooms than spend quality time with us.

So, how do we build this connection and create an environment where our teens feel safe and supported in opening up to us? While it may seem straightforward, the answer can often be found through listening.

The Power of Listening

Listening is not just about hearing words; it’s about understanding emotions, concerns, and underlying messages behind them. In a world filled with distractions, giving our teens undivided attention can help them feel important. Our attention tells them that they matter and that their thoughts and feelings are valid.

When we truly to listen to others, we create a safe space for self-expression without fear of judgement or criticism. Listening is a useful skill, especially while navigating the challenging teenage years and working with our children as they try to find a place in this world.

Tips to Build Open Communication

Be Present

Put away any and all distractions, such as smartphones and television, and make direct eye contact with your teen while they are speaking to you. Show them through actions that they have your full attention and value what they have to say.

Practice Empathy

Try to see things from your teen’s perspective. Empathize with their struggles and validate their emotions, even if you may not agree with their point of view.

Avoid Judgement

Keep an open mind and refrain from jumping to conclusions or criticizing their choices. Remember, your teen is more likely to confide in you if they feel accepted and understood.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Avoid the typical “yes or no” response questions and utilize more open-ended questions that encourage them to elaborate on their thoughts and feelings. For example, instead of asking “Did you have a good day at school?” try asking “What was the best part of your school day?”

Respect Their Privacy

While it is important to be involved in your teen’s life, respect their boundaries and give them space when they need it. Avoid prying or interrogating them about every detail of their life. This can backfire and actually push them away, making it less likely that they will want to open up to you.

Be Patient

Building trust and fostering open communication takes time. Be patient with your teen and let them know that no matter what, you will always be there for them.

Creating Opportunities for Connection

Throughout the day, it is important to find time to connect with your teen and utilize the skills previously mentioned. Here are some ways to build this connection:

  • Family Dinners: Make it a priority to sit down for dinner together as much as possible. Use this time to catch up on each other’s day, tell stories, and engage in meaningful conversations.
  • Quality Time: Find activities that you and your teen will enjoy doing together, such as watching a movie, going for a walk outside, or playing a game.
  • Taking Interest: Show genuine interest in your teen’s activities, hobbies, and passions. Try to attend their events and take active interest in what they value.
  • Technology Free Zones: Try to make certain areas of your home (e.g. dinner table or living room) “tech-free zones” where family members can disconnect from technology and interact face-to-face.
  • Open Door Policy: Inform your teen that at any point, your door is always open for them to come and talk.
  • Mental Health Counseling: Family counseling can be a great way to learn how to communicate effectively and actively listen to one another. Reach out and schedule a session today!

What Parents Should Know About Teen Suicide

As a parent, one of the most challenging aspects of raising a teenager is navigating their emotional well-being. Teenage years are marked by significant life changes, both physical and emotional. It is not uncommon for adolescents to experience feelings of stress, confusion, and even despair.

Unfortunately, these intense emotions can escalate to the point where they contemplate or even attempt suicide. It’s a heartbreaking reality that no parent wants to face, but understanding the factors that contribute to teen suicide, and understanding how to best support them, is essential in preventing such tragedies. Let’s talk about what parents should know.

Recognize Warning Signs

The first step in preventing teen suicide is knowing what signs to watch out for. While every teenager is different, common indicators that a teen may be struggling with thoughts of suicide include:

  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Withdrawal from friends and social supports
  • Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Expressions of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Giving away prized possessions

Paying attention to these warning signs and taking them seriously is crucial with providing timely intervention.

Understanding Risk Factors

Teen suicide is often a result of a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. While there is no singular cause, certain risk factors can increase a teenager’s vulnerability to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. These risk factors may look like:

  • History of mental illness
  • Substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Experiences of childhood trauma or abuse
  • Bullying
  • Academic pressures
  • Identity struggles

Creating Open Communication

One of the most important things parents can do to support their teenager’s mental health is to create an environment of open communication. Encourage your child to express their feelings and concerns without fear of judgment. Listen actively and validate their emotions, even if you may not understand or agree with them. Be present and attentive, and no matter what, let your child know that they can come to you with anything they are going through.

Promoting Healthy Coping Strategies

Help your teenager develop healthy coping skills to manage stress and navigate through difficult emotions. Encourage activities that promote relaxation and self-care, such as:

  • Exercise
  • Mindfulness practice
  • Journaling
  • Spending time outside
  • Eating three meals a day
  • Getting adequate sleep
  • Taking care of personal hygiene

Teach your child problem-solving techniques and how to find healthy ways to release their emotions, such as talking to a trusted friend or adult instead of resorting to self-harm or isolation.

Limiting Access to Lethal Means

Limiting access to lethal means, such as locking away firearms or medications, can significantly reduce the risk of suicide. If you have any of these in your home, ensure that they are securely stored and inaccessible to your teen. Take proactive steps to remove any potential means of self-harm from your child’s environment.

Fostering a Supportive Environment

A supportive and nurturing environment within your family can help reduce suicidal risk. Strengthen family bonds through quality time spent together, shared activities, and meaningful conversations. Encourage healthy relationships with peers and role models who provide positive influences and support. Let your teenager know that they are loved unconditionally and that help is available whenever they need it.

Seek Professional Help

If you suspect that your teenager may be struggling with suicidal thoughts or behaviors, do not hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional. Reach out to a therapist or a psychiatrist who can assess your child’s needs and provide appropriate treatment. In some severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary to ensure your child’s safety. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness, and it’s essential to prioritize your child’s well-being above all else. Reach out and schedule a session today.

Effective Strategies for Easing Pre-College Anxiety

Congrats, grad! Finishing high school is a major milestone in one’s life and it’s a time for celebration and cheer! What comes next? Well, perhaps you have made the decision to further your education and enter college. This is an exciting time and marks the beginning of an entirely new journey.

Enrolling in college also leads to feelings of uneasiness and nervousness. Pre-college anxiety is entirely normal, however it will be important to manage these feelings to make the transition smoother. Whether it’s worrying about academics, social life, or leaving home, here are some strategies that may be helpful for navigating this nerve-wracking time.

1. Seek Support

The overwhelming sensations of transitioning to college can feel suffocating, but remember that you are not alone. Seek support from friends, family, teachers, or other trusted individuals in your life who have gone through similar experiences.

Talking with your friends can provide you with reassurance and validation that this can be a scary time for everyone. Older family members and teachers may have experienced the transition to college themselves. Reach out and ask for their advice how to effectively manage nerves surrounding this major change.

2. Stay Organized

A big source of stress can stem from feeling unprepared or uncertain about what lies ahead. You can overcome this stress by staying organized and proactive with your preparation.

  • Do research about your college and if possible, take multiple tours of the campus before the first day.
  • Know how and when to register for classes. Meet with an academic advisor to help with scheduling.
  • Arrange housing if needed and create a check list of dorm room essentials to obtain before move-in.
  • Prepare school supplies such as writing utensils, notebooks, or textbooks before the first day.
  • Once enrolled in classes, read over the syllabus so you may be prepared for upcoming tests and assignments.

Break down these tasks into smaller, more manageable ones if you start to feel too overwhelmed. Start your preparations at the beginning of summer so you have a few months to accomplish them all.

3. Practice Self-Care

It can be easy to lose yourself in the stress of college preparation. Make sure to carve out time to take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, eat adequate meals, and engage in pleasurable activities that help you relax and unwind.

Enjoy the freedom of summer and spending time with high-school friends. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine, take some walks through nature, and manage your stress as best you can. Taking care of your physical and mental health will help better prepare you for college.

4. Connect with Peers

College campuses will often provide their incoming students with many opportunities for socialization. Take advantage of these events and branch out to meet new people. With the advantages of social media, it is even possible to find online groups with individuals who are starting school the same time you are.

Consider joining clubs, sports, or student organizations to make new friends and explore new interests while at school. You can even try to meet up with your new roommate before you officially move in together. While it can feel scary, try not to limit yourself socially.

5. Focus on Positives

During life transitions, we can unintentionally start to play the “what if” game. “What if I fail my classes?” and “What if I don’t make friends?” or “What if I don’t like my major?” These anxieties can eat us alive. That is why it’s important to develop a positive mindset when preparing for college. Visualize your goals and what you want to achieve in life. Remind yourself that this is a time for personal growth, and that no matter what happens, you tried your absolute best.

If you find yourself still struggling with pre-college anxiety, seeking help from a mental health counseling  is the best way to prepare. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help!


Preparing for College? How to Help Your Anxious Teen through the Application Process

One of the most significant milestones in a teenager’s life is the college application process. As exciting as it is, it can also be one of the most stressful times — especially for an already anxious teen. There are many options to weigh, such as choosing the right schools, creating the perfect admissions essay, maintaining sufficient grades, and applying for scholarships.

The journey to higher education may start to feel more like uncertainty. As a parent, it can be difficult to watch your teen struggle with nerves, so it is important to love and support your child through this process and help them navigate the challenges as they come.

Start Early

The earlier the better! Most schools have an early admissions process for future students to complete. Starting early helps break down the tasks so they do not seem so overwhelming. It allows the teen to take their time and not feel so rushed to send in their application.

Create an achievable timeline with deadlines for completing standardized tests, application submissions, and financial aide. Being prepared like this may alleviate any additional stress.

Open Communication

With anxiety comes the potential for isolation. Reassurance and talking through any unpleasant feelings can help your child feel more comfortable with their college applications. Give them a safe space to process any fear, doubts, and career aspirations that may be weighing on their minds. Demonstrate active listening and validation for their thoughts and feelings. Teens will relish in the comfort as their parent acts as a trusted confidant.

Provide Guidance, Not Pressure

It’s natural for parents to want the best for their children. In doing so, however, they may provide unnecessary pressure without realizing it. Offer support and guidance without applying personal expectations. You can help them research, apply, brainstorm and prepare, but empower them to make their own choices and voice their own opinions about their future.

Manage Expectations

It’s important to provide your teen with realistic expectations about the college application process. Rejection is natural and a part of the journey. It does not mean they are not good enough or that they are failures. Come up with a plan to deal with possible rejection and encourage your child to keep an open mind about different schools. Remind them that the goal is not to get into the best of the best schools, but to find one that fits their academic, social, and personal goals.

Practice Self-Care

Along with anxiety comes the ability to neglect physical and emotional needs. Encourage your teen to prioritize getting enough sleep, eating healthier, exercising, and practicing stress management techniques such as mindfulness or meditation. Model these behaviors yourself and educate your child on the importance of caring for yourself. This is great practice for when they go off to college as well!

Celebrate All Achievements

It can be easy to get lost in the stress and business of applying. Remember to pause and celebrate with your child all the successes they complete, no matter how small. Celebrate finishing their essay, receiving a positive letter of recommendation, and sending in that first application! Acknowledge their growth and achievements as they happen. This will increase their confidence and help them learn to think positively about themselves. Positive reinforcement will make their college journey more exciting and fulfilling.

Seek Professional Help

Anxiety can be challenging no matter where it stems from. If your teens’ anxiety is causing concern, it may be beneficial to seek help from a mental health professional. Therapists can help teach effective coping strategies, stress management skills, help set goals, and boost self-confidence. They can be a great support for your child during this process and offer guidance for you all as a family. If you believe you or your children could benefit from counseling, reach out and schedule a session today!

The Pandemic and Its Effects on Teen Mental Health

The coronavirus (COVID-19) caused many issues of fear, anxiety, depression, stress, uncertainty, and weariness for everyone. This was particularly true for teens who had to face school shutdowns, lack of socialization, and increased stress at home. On top of other stresses that teens struggle with normally, the pandemic heightened risks for the development of anxiety and depression. Let’s discuss some of the major effects COVID-19 had on teen mental health.

School Shut Downs

Schooling takes up a majority of children’s lives, promoting social skills, education, independence and responsibilities. They spend about 12 years in total going to school 5 days a week. It becomes a normal part of their routine and helps build their identities as young people in society. The pandemic shut down all schools for months, forcing the students to attend online schooling from their homes.

School can be difficult for teens and even more challenging when they are having to learn virtually rather than in person. Resources are limited, communication with teachers is not easily accessible, and social supports are severed. The stress of the adjustment to attending school at home and the potential of grades dropping, anxiety and depression symptoms start to increase.

Lack of Socialization

The pandemic called for a cease of all face-to-face contact without maintaining 6-feet distance. For fear of catching symptoms, most individuals stayed within their homes. Without having activities, fun plans, or social activities to engage with, teenagers struggled with feelings of intense loneliness, sadness, and despair. Even with the use of cell phones, social supports from peers and extended family members became limited.

Disengagement with Extracurriculars

Along with schools, restaurants, stores, and many other businesses, after school activities also shut down. Sports, clubs, and any other group activities did not meet for months, leaving teens with the inability to engage in things that bring them joy. Lack of extracurriculars enhances screen time by texting, scrolling, watching, and playing games. More time spent on their screens can lower motivation to exercise, talk with family and friends, and engage in self-care.

Family Stress

Being stuck indoors with the same people for months on end can cause an increase in conflict, irritation, arguments, and overall stress. With no way to relive this stress, tension can become almost unbearable. Symptoms of mental health issues start to impact teens. It is also possible that some teenagers’ home lives were not safe and warm before the pandemic. Staying in a hostile environment like this can cause emotional distress on the individual with no way to escape.

Long-Term Effects

Even now, 4 years out from the start of the pandemic, these effects can still impact teens today. Going back to school provided more anxiety rather than relief for most kids. Facing crowds, wearing masks, and learning to navigate safety now with COVID-19 present added to the stress.

After months of not socializing at all, children are now struggling with social skills and communication. School work is another added challenge; being out of study habits and not effectively learning for months can set kids back on where they should be academically.

Teenage and adolescent years present many challenges with identity, autonomy, relationships, education, and career interests. This age group is already susceptible to the diagnosis of mental health disorders. Add the mental toll of the pandemic and the risks increase exponentially.

If you notice that your child is still suffering with mental health symptoms, it may be beneficial to seek help from a mental health professional. COVID-19 was a terrible time for everyone and it’s time to learn to move forward and readjust our lives living with the illness.

Therapists can help your child with this transition as well as managing anxiety and depression symptoms caused by the pandemic. Reach out and schedule a consultation today.


Social Media and the Unexpected Effects It’s Having on Adolescents

It’s no secret that social media has taken over the minds of almost every person around the world. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, at some point we have all indulged in the temptations of these platforms. While social media was initially created to expand social circles and communicate with distant friends and family, it has taken an unexpected turn when it comes to the adolescent population.

Social Media Benefits

Before we discuss the negative outcomes of these social applications, we should acknowledge the positives. The media allows teens to:

  • Broaden social networks from all over the world
  • Express themselves creatively and authentically
  • Connect them with resources and communities with similar interests
  • Entertainment and distractions
  • Expose themselves to current events

Social media has indeed accomplished the goal it was originally trying to achieve, however there were some unexpected consequences along the way.

Social Media Harms

As these platforms continue to increase in popularity, the unexpected negative effects are also growing, especially with teenagers.

Bullying and Rumors

Name-calling and rumor-spreading have always been an unfortunate issue during the adolescent period. With social media however, it’s much easier to engage with the harassment. Being bullied online, also known as cyberbullying, is an issue that only continues to get worse over time.

Perpetrators are able to remain anonymous if they want, making rude comments and posting discriminating content. It happens frequently due to the harassment taking place virtually rather than face to face. It feels safer to jump on the bandwagon when there’s a screen to hide behind.


While distractions are helpful every once in a while, it is possible that these distractions turn into all-around avoidance. Scrolling, posting, watching, and reading social media websites can become addictive. We would much rather watch a humorous video on TikTok or Snapchat than take care of responsibilities. Media is so easily accessible that it makes procrastination tendencies much worse.

Peer Pressure

It is common to feel pressure from social media to conform to the ways other people look and act. Influencers are individuals who use social media to inspire a specific population. They often use good looks and fun personalities to gain followers.

As impressionable as teenagers are, they might start to change the way they dress or engage with different interests simply because someone they follow online is doing the same. Influencers with a massive following can even start “trends” that instantly become popular. If teens desire to fit in, they may start to join in on these trends.

Unrealistic Expectations

Social media promotes a distorted view on life, whether that’s looks and appearances, professional aspirations, relationships, or experiences. People only tend to post about the positives in their life, wanting to show off their new partner, job, or share about their trip abroad. Rarely do we see people post about all the negatives happening to them.

We start to feel bad about ourselves, wondering why we can’t look like this person or have a happy relationship like that person. Why can’t you afford a trip to Italy, but someone you used to go to high school with can? With all the filters, fake smiles, and editing, social media is causing more harm than good.

What Can Parents Do?

One of the main ways parents can support their teen is to properly educate them about the media. Having conversations about peer pressure, unrealistic expectations, and distractions can be beneficial for adolescents to hear. It will allow them to continue using social media for the benefits, but being cautious about the harms.

If you notice your child experiencing negative effects from the use of social media, it may be beneficial to seek help from a mental health professional. Counselors can help support parents with monitoring the use of the media, while also helping the child understand the dangers of engaging with these platforms too much. Reach out and schedule a session today!

How to Spot Depression in Teenage Boys

Teenagers are known to be emotional and moody, but these symptoms tend to border mental illness. It can be difficult to spot the difference between a bad day and depression in teens. An even added challenge is to spot the difference between depression symptoms in boys versus girls. While there are not many, boys can present depression signs a bit differently than girls. Let’s discuss how to spot these symptoms.

Physical Signs

When we think of depression, we mainly think of low energy, depressed mood, and feelings of hopelessness. However, depression in teenage boys can manifest as physical symptoms as well.

  • Not taking care of personal hygiene. This could look like refusing to bathe or shower, wearing the same clothes, or failing to use deodorant. Once in a while is normal, but constantly having to remind your son to wash his face or brush his teeth could be a warning sign.
  • Headaches, body pains, and stomach issues with unexplained causes. Suppressing or ignoring depression symptoms can cause tension in the body that may present as muscle or joint pain.
  • Eating too much or too little. Again, this can be normal teenage behavior, but it is important to keep an eye on his eating habits.
  • Oversleeping and low energy. It’s one thing if your teen is staying up late to talk to friends or play games, but it is another if he’s getting enough rest and still feeling fatigued. The same could be said for not being able to sleep. Insomnia is also an indicator of depression.

Behavioral Signs

Behavior signs are easy to ignore, especially if they are excused as being a normal teenage boy. However, these can be an indication of something more serious.

  • Mood swings and emotional outbursts. Extreme highs and lows can mean more than just hormonal changes. Depression can also present as anger or irritation over seemingly small things. It can also be difficult to calm himself down once emotions are high.
  • Being unable to focus. Teens may start to forget to do daily tasks, lose concentration at school, and struggle with decision-making. This could impact his overall wellbeing and problem-solving skills.
  • Withdrawing from social activities, extracurriculars, and pleasurable hobbies that they use to love can be a major sign of depression in boys. He may start to spend more time in his room and stop engaging with friends and family.
  • Lower self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness may start to increase. Your son may start to dwell on past mistakes associated with feelings of guilt and shame. He also may start to develop a negative view of himself.
  • Taking risks. Teens may start to make bad choices, ignore responsibilities, and avoid consequences. Risky behavior can range anywhere from smoking and drinking to sneaking and staying out past curfew.

How Can Parents Help?

As caregivers, it is important to not ignore these signs and symptoms, but rather encourage communication. You may receive some push back from your son on talking about feelings, but just reassure him you are there for love and support. Remember, it can be easy to blame all of this on normal hormonal changes or teenage behavior, but they are also major signs of depression.

If these symptoms start to increase, it may be time to reach out to a mental health professional. Counselors could be a great resource to learn about depression in teens, as well as creating a safe and welcoming environment for your son to work through negative thoughts and feelings. It may be beneficial to attend some sessions with your teen to show support and help him realize that he is not alone. Reach out and schedule a consultation today!

Ways in Which Teen Brains Are Different

As parents, it can be frustrating to try and understand the impulsiveness and irrational behavior of teenagers. It seems that adolescents just act without thinking or don’t fully understand the consequences of their actions. There is actually a biological explanation for this.

Brains continue to grow and develop throughout childhood and even into adulthood. Because of this, children and adults differ in the ways they act, problem-solve, and make decisions. Here are 5 ways that teen brains are different than adults.

1. Differing Priorities

Our brain stops fully developing in our twenties — the prefrontal cortex being one of the last places to mature. This area is responsible for decision-making, planning, and prioritizing. Teens tend to focus more on building relationships and social experiences.

They prioritize friends, and with the prefrontal cortex still developing, teens are more likely to take risks due to the social benefits rather than think about consequences. They cannot always understand their reasonings behind behaviors or actions.

2. Ready to Learn

Because of the continuous development, teen’s brains are able to adapt and learn about new experiences. They can also gain skills easier and balance multiple tasks at once. It is important for teens to find stimulation in order to release stress and improve their cognitive abilities.

Enforcing education, such as encouraging teens to take challenging classes, helps promote brain maturity. Creative activities that involve art or music also strengthen brain circuits and aid with healthy development. The adolescent brain can actually change and adapt better than the adult brain.

3. Stress Response

Stress is challenging to manage for anyone, but teens tend to respond differently than adults. One reason is that their emotional regulation is not as strong, therefore making it more difficult for them to utilize skills to calm themselves down. They are also more likely to perceive stress as dangerous and act out in response.

Teenagers can be more susceptible to drug and alcohol abuse, aggression, physical illness, or social isolation if they do not learn effective management or coping skills.

4. Susceptible to Mental Illness

Due to the stresses of the adolescent period, it is common for teens to struggle with their mental health. The more risk factors teenagers are exposed to, the more likely they are to be diagnosed with a mental disorder. These factors may include:

  • Pressure to conform
  • Bullying or discrimination
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • Exposure to violence
  • Lack of support
  • Family history

5. Resilient

Despite the many challenges adolescents face, they are more likely to bounce back and live relatively normal lives. Experiences and changes in the brain during this period may contribute to resilience and an improved mental health into adulthood. Teenagers also have more brain cells than adults; they are quicker, meaning they can bounce back easier from impactful situations.

Adolescents have the ability to live in the moment, which us adults may want to try more. While this can be a pro and a con, teens can use this to include more joy in their daily lives. Living in the moment allows them to discover their passions, identities, and goals. They take life day by day, challenge their thinking processes, and explore career options.

Understanding the teen brain proves to be challenging, but imagine trying to deal with the development. At one point in time, we were all adolescents going through our own brain changes. This time period can be difficult, and if you notice your teen struggling with their mental health, it may be time to reach out to a mental health professional.

Counselors can guide teens to understand their development while helping them learn effective skills for emotional regulation, stress management, and communication. Reach out and schedule their first session today!

Social Media: How It Affects Adolescent Mental Health


Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Tik Tok… Social media has quickly become a primary method of communication for all ages. We are all subjected to scrolling, liking, and posting — teenagers especially. Like anything, there are pros and cons to the use of social media. Both impact the well-being of adolescent’s mental health.

Benefits of Social Media

  • Building social networks: Having access to a wide variety of different online groups can help broaden social supports. Some teens find comfort in engaging with online communities where it’s easier to find individuals with similar likes and interests. It also helps geographical barriers and fosters relationships with people overseas.
  • Entertainment: It’s no question that social media has been the cause of some pretty hilarious viral videos over the years. Social media that’s humorous and distracting can help improve adolescent’s moods.
  • Self-expression: Media platforms can allow teens to express their interests, tap into their creative side, or share personal content.

Harms of Social Media

  • Bullying: One of the largest criticisms of social media is how it can be used to harass people anonymously. Bullying is common amongst social groups during the adolescent stage of life. With access to social media, it makes the name-calling, teasing, and rumor spreading that much easier. This is a large contributor to increased symptoms of anxiety and depression in teens.
  • Low self-esteem: Another issue with social media is its ability to promote unrealistic views and expectations. With filters, photoshop, and editing, people post videos and photos that appear flawless. Teenagers struggle with body image and how they view themselves, and seeing these types of posts online will only add to these negative feelings.
  • Distractions: Sometimes these are needed after a long day or a stressful situation. However, excessive use can become a problem, and even an addiction. Relying on the media for satisfaction can be a slippery slope into developing anxiety and depression.

Long-Term Effects

Unfortunately, the cons outweigh the pros when it comes to social media. One negative impact is the issue with indirect communication. A lot of adolescent’s free time are spent browsing media and texting. FaceTime or video chat is becoming more popular than hanging out face-to-face.

There is a sense of protection behind a screen, and it can be almost anxiety-inducing to communicate to others directly. We, as humans, are reliant on social cues to help navigate conversations. With technology being a main source of communication, teens and adolescents are not developing critical social skills that may be needed in adulthood.

Mental health is also largely impacted by social media. Due to lower self-esteem, cyberbullying, and decrease of social interactions, anxiety and depression have spiked in the adolescent population. Teenage years are challenging to begin with, and with the added stresses and pressure of the media, mental health symptoms are increasing.

What Can Parents Do?

There are steps to take to promote healthy social media use and how to educate your teen on the negative impacts.

  • Set limits: Only allow a certain amount of time for social media use. Encourage use for only a few hours a day and do not let it interfere with daily activities, school, work, or sleep.
  • Monitor their accounts: Check in with your child about what they are posting and who they are communicating with.
  • Encourage direct communication: Explain the importance of socializing face-to-face and help them understand the dangers of constantly talking to others via the media.
  • Talk about the positives and negatives of social media: It’s important to have an open and honest conversation about the dangers of social media. Educate them about caring for themselves and their mental well-being.

If you notice negative signs and symptoms due to media, it may be best to reach out to mental health professional for help. Contact us today to schedule your first session.