Raising teenagers is a tricky task. They are going through a lot of changes and growth all at the same time. You want to help them get through it with minimal heartache and lots of happiness and joy, but when change strikes, it can be difficult for them to adjust. When your teen is experiencing a new environment, they can struggle to adapt quickly and comfortably.
There are plenty of reasons for environmental change. Maybe they switched schools or started a new grade. Maybe you have to relocate for your job and they’re adapting to a new city. Or maybe new friends or a change in their social scene is leaving them feeling a little lost. Whatever the reason, you have every opportunity to become the best support system possible for them. Remember to be a listening ear and help find all the tools to set them up for success. While you can’t fix everything, there are ways you can help. Here are just a few examples of how you can help your teen adjust to a new environment.
Get them involved in therapy.
While you want to be helpful as a parent, there are some things you may not be as qualified to handle. For example, if your student is dealing with mental health issues or needs to talk things through with a mental health professional, you may not be able to give them everything they need. Don’t just write it off as behavior issues or “your teen just being a teen.” Check for signs of a mood disorder or the need for a treatment plan for mental health concerns.
A teen residential treatment program can provide a safe place for any length of stay to help your teen participant retake control of their life and their mental health care. This can be the next step for adolescents who are struggling. Group therapy or individual meetings with a therapist can work wonders for young people dealing with confusing, changing times.
Find coping mechanisms.
Your teen may be going through a lot to cope with their new environment. It may be helpful to find those coping mechanisms that will help keep them grounded and centered. A treatment plan can involve positive self-talk, journaling, engaging with a new hobby, etc. It may even help to find an object or plan to rely on during anxious episodes. A fidget spinner or magnetic blocks can help a troubled teen refocus and process the information at hand. While these may seem like kid’s toys, they can work wonders for the specific needs of your teen.
Acknowledge how they are feeling.
Empathy is key whenever you’re dealing with big feelings. You may not be able to fully understand or process what your teen is feeling, but you need to acknowledge that their feelings are valid and worthwhile. Hear them out and avoid passing any judgment on the things they’re struggling with. By acknowledging their thoughts and feelings, you are showing you can be trusted and you’re on the same team. This is the ultimate way to show support to your adolescents.
Learn as much as you can about the new environment.
Oftentimes a new environment can be hard to adjust to because you simply don’t know much about it. A way to help your teen is by learning as much info as you can. If you’re moving to a new town, research social clubs and activities for them. If they’re enrolling in a new school, do a walk through and try to meet the teachers. Taking the time to invest in the new environment will help it feel less scary overall.