Teaching your teen to B.U.I.L.D.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to create uncertainty throughout our communities. The educational system has been presented with an array of challenges leaving many families feeling disconnected, isolated, and ultimately hesitant regarding the next best steps moving forward. Countless families are adjusting to the “new normal” in addition to managing economic, work, and personal strain which continue to mount. As teens strive for social connection, their increased online activity also puts them at an elevated risk for online harms, such as sexual exploitation, cyberbullying, risk-taking behavior, and exposure to potentially harmful content. According to the CDC, feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, and other emotional or financial stressors are known to raise the risk for suicide, and many are more likely to experience these feelings during a crisis.

This last year has proven that establishing a guide to wellness is critical for parents, and now more than ever, serving as a guide to teach your teen to B.U.I.L.D. will be a significant tool as they navigate through this pandemic.

B. Be able to identify your emotions. Recognize the emotion you are feeling and what the potential trigger(s) may be? When you are ready, speak to a trusted individual about how you are feeling. For those on the receiving end, empathy is the best approach.

U. Utilize positive coping mechanisms. Once you have identified your emotion(s), reflect on what activities help you cope (i.e., adapt) to that feeling. This activity may differ from one person to the next and may change based on the desired outcome. Affirmations can be helpful when negative self-talk come into play.

I. Identify healthy routines. Mental health can be tied to several areas of our life. Discuss your current nutritional intake, sleep hygiene, and physical activity which can influence mood. Make changes as you see necessary and be gentle with yourself as everyday is a new opportunity to maintain, adjust, or try something new.

L. Learn how to ask for help. There are many reasons asking for help can be challenging, however the pros always outweigh the cons. Reaching out to a trusted individual may be the boost you need to take on the task and acquire additional resources.

D. Develop a crisis plan. There are many plans/drills that we are taught to follow throughout our childhood such as natural disasters (i.e., tornados, fires). We should also normalize the ability to create a plan in the event we find ourselves in need of urgent mental health services.

Let us continue to be a guiding light for our youth:

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

-Marianne WIlliamson

Please see additional resources below:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Mindfulness for Teens

National Eating Disorder Association

Love is Respect

Learn more about Hand Made Dreams HERE

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