It’s hard to be a parent, as children all have their own list of personal challenges they must go through, and if they’re your child, you will feel like you have to take them through the hand forwards through all the difficulties they face. Of course, sometimes this can help them get through the hardest times. But other times, these times are here to help them build their strength and become closer to who they are.
Drawing that fine line can be extremely hard. How do you know your child is wanting to skimp on sports practice because they simply don’t like getting up in the morning, that they very much dislike sports, or that they are feeling depressed and filled with real ennui? It’s hard to draw that line for them when they might be finding it hard to draw that line themselves.
This is where encouragement comes in. Encouragement isn’t simply a sentence designed to motivate them past the next two minutes of challenge, but the fundamental basis of a relationship. As a parent trying to raise a teen suffering with the challenges of mental health and learning how to be a person, it can help you both for the better. Here’s how, and potentially why:
Encouragement Is Gentle
There’s a great difference between ‘you should do this,’ and ‘hey, you do know that you can do this, right?’ It seems subtle, but really, the tone and the power of the sentence is completely reversed. One orders, the other gently suggests. That’s the best part about encouragement, it’s a gentle attitude that can generate real ambition and self-belief. This is what teenagers need to hear. It’s not easy being a young person, trying to figure out your way in the world. It’s a time where self-doubt seems to come around every corner, especially if you are exposed to that which you have never been before. For some teenagers, getting the train to a city to attend a university interview might be something they have never done before. It can seem like an absolutely incredible task, and perhaps even put the entire week into a distinct sense of worry.
But with gentle encouragement, believing in your child and ensuring that they know they can do this, they might start to believe it. That’s the real difference. No one can ever for sure, verifiably, 100% suggest that someone is capable of doing something. But if the person believes that they can or they can’t, they are usually right in both instances.
Encouragement Can Be Corrective
There’s a great difference between ‘you shouldn’t have done this,’ and ‘what can you learn from this next time?’ This mindset, adopted in the teenager who is able to look at their mistake impartially, becomes a growing experience, not something horrible that denounces their character through and through. This also serves as a form of encouragement, because learning to bounce back from mistakes early in life is one of the most valuable skills there is.
It is no great failing in a human being to make mistakes. But we often consider that it is. For example, when we might be in an argument with someone, it’s very easy to take the high road. When condemning there action we might use phrases such as ‘Well, if it was me I wouldn’t have X,’ or ‘I would have understood if they had X, but instead they just Y.’ This kind of condemnation, especially if given from a parent, doesn’t particularly help. Of course, sometimes punishments are there to help set boundaries and to help the mistake soak in to the skin of the teenager, but they must never be condemned for it in a kind of family-home kangaroo court.
More than that, it must never be implied they do not have the capacity to change. Any, and all sense of mistake recovery should be completely possible, as should be the scope of the lesson to be learned here.
Encouragement Unlocks Doors
Encouragement can be absolutely essential in the building of forward momentum. It’s the difference between telling your struggling teen that they shouldn’t have a problem or helping encourage them forward to utilize teen depression treatment effectively and thoroughly. Encouragement unlocks doors, because there’s something deeply optimistic about it.
Of course, it’s often a dangerous thing to talk about the mind without any form of real psychological backing, but some experiences are intimate to all of us, and can usually be spoken of with clarity. We all know that our mental state affects the day to day experience we encounter, but that’s hardly the end of the story. Our self-belief also contributes to this. It is very possible, even if suffering from clinical depression, to further fall down into the hole through repeated negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. Encouragement suggests that it doesn’t have to be this way. One of the main self-driving benefits of coming out of a depressive episode is the belief that the person will feel better. Then they do not feel so condemned, and that’s when the treatment will start to be engaged with in many cases.
The same could be said for addiction, even though it is a very different problem to deal with. An addict cannot get better until they genuinely want to, and understood they have a problem. This means encouragement is in the self-belief someone has, and as a parent you can help show them this, not tell them. You might interact with tasks together, or show them their virtues, or simply tell them you are there every step of the way and that they are worth all of this care and attention.
There’s fine line between telling someone they can do something, and allowing them the space to do so. Ultimately the final effort of encouragement is to allow them to feel it themselves, and prove it to themselves. If you can do this, which should come if you can rest just a little from interference provided you know they are healthy, you will have reached one of the final and most wholesome steps of this parental method.
With these tips, you’re sure to take a healthier approach to raising your child.
This post is partnered and collaborative content.