The teenage years can be difficult for many reasons. Teens are often trying to fit in. They want to make their own decisions and explore the unknown. They sometimes take risks. While some easily settle on their identity, others struggle to find their purpose. Struggling teens may show signs of unhealthy emotional regulation. This means that they do not know how to handle or manage their strong emotions. If they do not manage emotion well, they can develop depressive symptoms. For example, they might have periods of sadness or of fear. Research shows teens that do not manage their emotions well are more likely to be involved in a variety of unhealthy behaviors.
Teens learn how to handle their emotions through a variety of influences. They learn through social media, culture, friends, religion, parents, school, or authoritative figures. Out of all these, parents are one of the most influential. Teens learn by observing. They learn by listening. Parents may be unaware that their teens learn how to handle emotions just by watching them.
Teaching teenagers how to handle their hard emotions can be difficult. But helping them understand their emotions will also help them steer clear of feeling depressive symptoms.
C/o: Written by Kaylin Cash, and edited by Professors Julie Haupt, Adam Rogers, and Stephen F. Duncan, School of Family Life, Brigham Young University. February 19, 2020.