College can be a fantastic time for any teen – a time when they can finally find independence, embrace new horizons, and work towards their dream careers at last.
Whether they’re studying acting, are completing a law doctorate, or are embarking on a master of science in nursing college degree, the chances that you couldn’t be prouder. Yet, you’re starting to notice that they aren’t coping with these college years as well as you thought they would, and that’s a definite worry.
Unfortunately, as our studying teens’ escalating mental health issues prove, college isn’t all a bed of opportunistic roses. In fact, as well as the good, countless teens find that the pressure of studying soon gets on top of them, leading to a wide range of issues, including depression, anxiety, and stress.
As the parent, you’re going to want to help your teen through this, and we’re going to consider a few ways you can do that.
Keep conversations light
You’re so proud of your teen that you probably just want to talk about their degree whenever you see them. At dinner parties, you likely tell everyone about it, and you may even have relatives calling them up gushing about all the fantastic things you’ve told them. Sadly, every single one of these actions piles yet more pressure on your teen’s shoulder, causing them to feel a need to perform continually and, worse, not address anything negative because they don’t want to let you down. This is the crux of student stress, and it’s an issue you can avoid by simply keeping conversation light, and leaving degree talk off the table at least some of the time. Chances are the reason why your teen has come home is to get away from the stressful life of school and to recuperate for the time being. Even if this is not exactly the reason why they returned, their time home should be spent resting and recharging, so that when they are ready to get back to it, they do so with a spring in their step!
Cook for them
The stereotype of the starved student is nothing new, but a poor diet or, worse, a lack of time for food is a significant contributor to mental health struggles. As such, while it may seem like an annoying parent thing to do, cooking for your teen at this time is the best way to give them what they need. If they’re close enough for you to do it, make an effort to drop them a decent meal (with plenty of leftovers!) at least once a week. If the distance is too far, why not order them a meal delivery subscription instead? There is nothing like a home cooked meal to warm their hearts as well as to remind them that they are not alone, that they have loving parents who will have their back as they mature into adulthood.
Make sure they’re taking breaks
If your teen has a lot of work on, then the chances are that they don’t take many breaks. There’s always another assignment to hand in, after all! In reality, though, there’s clear evidence that failing to take a break can actually harm productivity. Not to mention that burnout is one of the worst causes for the mental student struggles mentioned. Help your teen avoid this by encouraging them into taking breaks. Even something like an hour out for coffee can help to revitalize them and refresh their brain for better results and an improved mood.
College life is tough, so make sure to help your teen through for their happiness and your peace of mind!
It has been proven through multiple studies that exercise deeply affects the mood of us humans. In todays modern age, it is all to easy to forgo this act. It is easy to sit at home all day yet still be productive. A young man or woman should be getting constant exercise, at the very least of three hours a week. You should encourage your teen to join an athletic club. It is also incredible for socializing and making new friends, it is arguably the best way to interact with other people to form a common goal. With sports they can release stress, make friends, learn about teamwork, get in shape and boost their serotonin, all in one go.
One of the reasons why your teen may be having a difficult time is because he or she feels like they are alone at the university. Even though they are surrounded by people studying probably something similar to what they are doing, it can get lonely. Especially if they are going to school far away in a different state, or even country! Sports are by far the best cure for this loneliness, so, be sure to encourage your kid to get into a sport, to get involved! After all, that is what university should be about anyway, getting involved.
If your teen is really not a sports person and truly hasn’t played games in his life, there are other ways to meet people, make friends, and boost the mood. Music is one thing that binds all humans together. People who speak different languages and could never communicate with each could still feel a piece of music and bond with it. Learning how to play an instrument would give you teen an in with people from all over the world, not just university. It would give them the power to express themselves and release stress, anxiety and if they are deep in the whole than depression as well.
Music binds people from all ages, creeds, and cultures. Learning an instrument is something that has no downside, only an upside. If your teen is a musical individual, then nurture that proclivity. It will help them greatly in times of solitude or when they are thrown into an entirely new community.
Take the time to travel
Often in universities, students will organise trips to a new place. Of course, where they go varies on the geographical location of the school and their interests. Encourage your teen to take weekend trips with the school community. That’s where all the university memories will lie after all. When they look back to their time in college it will be these trips that they will remember fondly, not the late nights of studying, the stress from the exams, or the unfortunate breakups. Travelling the world is something all young people should do, it broadens the mind and liberates the spirit. Your teen will learn things on these trips that they would have never learnt in a classroom, and they also get an opportunity to bond with their fellow classmates.
The next time your teen asks to go on a trip, resist the natural worry that comes to you as a parent, and fill them with encouragement and enthusiasm. Sometimes they may even need encouragement as they might by shy and fearful of the unknown; it will be your job to tell them that they can conquer the unknown and gain experience, as well as make some friends along the way, after all, college should be about adventure.
No More Stress!
In conclusion, if you as a parent manage to encourage your teen in the above mentioned activities, as well as care for them in the way that we have mentioned, then university will be a breeze for your teen.
When they come home they should be recharging their batteries, not being interrogated about grades or potential love affairs. Home cooked food, which is a scarce commodity in university life, should be at the ready. If your teen has been hitting the gym or has joined a sports club then he or she will be in good shape with a community of physically fit people for friends. If your teen also managed to pick up a guitar and strum a few chords, or learned some drum patterns then he or she will be able to socialize with the creative crowd and who knows where that could take him or her in life. And, if on top of all this your teen has managed to make a few trips, see parts of the world and have unique experiences, well, isn’t that the ideal university life?