• Choose a good time and place.
− Set aside time after dinner, before bed or on a walk or drive.
• Listen attentively and calmly – with interest, patience and openness.
• Avoid any urge to judge, blame or lecture. Let your child take the time to express their thoughts and feelings.
• Notice out loud. Tell your child when you notice something bothering them and if you can, label the feeling.
− “You haven’t been yourself lately.”
• Let your child know you are hearing what they’re saying by summing up what they’ve said and allowing them to confirm.
• “It seems like you’re feeling…”
• Use “I” statements to express yourself and describe how your child’s actions affect you and your feelings.
− “When you don’t come home on time, I worry that something terrible has happened to you. I need you to call me when you know you’ll be late, so I know you’re okay.”
• Ask open-ended questions to achieve a more engaging conversation.
• Communicate in a straightforward manner.
• Offer empathy and support.
• Create an environment where your child feels safe and comfortable.
• Let them know the teen years are tough, but you are there for them.
• Share your own stories so your kid knows they are not alone in their struggles.
• Show you care and want to understand.
• Support can be in the form of a hug, heartfelt words or simply being present and available.
• Discuss healthy ways to cope with their problems
• Communicate the rules you have surrounding technology and substance use and discuss the consequences if they break those rules.
• Use age appropriate language. Elementary aged children will need fewer details than high school students.
• Ask your teen to think about their future and how the possible consequences will affect their dreams and goals.
• Understand your influence as a parent. You are the most important influence on your child, so talk early and talk often.
− Most children at age 6 know that alcohol is only for adults, but between ages 9-13, they start to view alcohol differently.
• Turn every day events into “teachable moments.”
− Talk about cyberbullying or vaping if it comes up on TV or on the radio.
Beach Cities Health District, in partnership with our Student Mental Health Provider Task Force, is launching the virtual “Talk About It” Small-Group Parent Workshop Series. This series will highlight members of the Student Mental Health Provider Task Force, local mental health providers and local health partners to cover a variety of topics.
- Thursday, June 4, 1 - 2 p.m.: Youth Substance Use and Vaping with Clear Recovery Center
- Thursday June 11, 1 - 2 p.m.: Helping Your Senior: Tips for Helping Your Teen Cope with Missing Milestone Life Events
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids: How to Talk to Your Teen | MentalHealth.gov: Talk About Mental Health: For Parents & Caregivers | KidsHealth.org: Helping Kids Cope with Stress | KidsHealth.org: Helping Kids Handle Worry | Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Why Small Conversations Make a Big Impression | Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Help for Talking About Alcohol | National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.: Talking with Children