Supporting teenagers towards a happy, healthy future 

Supporting teenagers towards a happy, healthy future 

To mark Children’s Mental Health Week, Dr Emma Fergusson, a consultant in child and adolescent mental health with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, has some tips for the teenage years. 

An American newspaper columnist back in the middle of the last century once advised her readers against ever lending their car to someone they had given birth to. 

It was intended as a joke but it does capture the changing joys and anxieties of being a parent as the child progresses on their journey from innocent infant through the wonder years to adulthood. 

To mark Children’s Mental Health Week, Dr Emma Fergusson, a consultant in child and adolescent mental health with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, has some tips for keeping a harmonious, happy household through the teenage years. 

Dr Fergusson suggests parents: 

  • Try to have at least one meal together as a family each day 
  • While trying to avoid being heavy-handed, keep an eye on your teenager’s screen time and talk about what a reasonable limit is 
  • Encourage your teenagers to substitute outdoors exercise for some of that screen time  
  • Make time to talk to your child or children – remember the things you worried about as a teenager and be ready for sensitive, thoughtful responses to signs of teenage angst or rebellion. 

She adds: “There’s no such thing as the perfect parent and no handy manual for the evolving challenges of parenting. Talk to other parents and keep a sense of perspective. If you do have genuine worries you can find more information on the trust’s website – including details of other sources of support and advice.”

Take a look at 16-year-old Abi’s journaling techniques that help her find the good in every day.

Published: 8 February 2022