“Actually, they will be okay, whatever scenario they’re put in.”
Do you think your teenager is moody and negative?
Becky Goddard Hill is co-author of Be Happy, Be You – a teenage guide to happiness. Her book – and this podcast episode – is packed with small tips that teens can easily fit into their lives to help improve how they’re feeling. I talked to Becky about how to build resilience in teenagers and maybe even help to improve how they’re feeling.
The kids are alright
However, beneath the sometimes surly demeanor, Becky says our teenagers are coping really well with the stress in their lives. During lockdown children’s charity Childline had a 40% increase in calls from under 11’s, but calls from teenagers reduced. The assumption is that the reduced burden of schoolwork and real-time relationship pressures meant that teens actually felt calmer than usual during lockdown.
In contrast, re-entering the new normal of Covid life has found teenagers more worried than they were before, so Becky’s tips on helping them to cope are super relevant right now.
Accepting that teens have a different reality
What I loved most about my chat with Becky though was how she puts into perspective the frustrations I might have with my own teenagers, and helps me to understand that they’re coming at life from a totally different place to me! She says we’re all born with negativity bias, and that giving into that as parents could be a modelling behaviour we need to address in ourselves. Becky made me think about role modelling positivity and optimism with my kids, because it will be contagious – especially during the pandemic!
Why teens make us despair!
There’s also a reason why our teenagers indulge in risky behaviours. Apparently dopamine levels are reduced in the teenage years, meaning that young people start to up their risk factors in order to get the happiness hit they’re looking for. Who knew?!
Why is resilience important?
Our teenagers do have a lot of weight on their shoulders, and never more so than when they head off to university, or to start their own independent lives. We talked about the number of university students who struggle – having been sold the story that this is the ‘time of their lives’ – with low mood or anxiety as they try to adjust to such a dramatic change. But Becky says they can manage this provided they’ve learned resilience during their childhood and teenage years.
How to promote resilience in adolescence
And for the parents whose teens seem unreachable, Becky has lots of great tips on how to teach a teenager resilience and how to get them to engage in the small practices her book recommends. She says parents of teens don’t need to worry as much as we think we do.
“Everything you’ve taught them is still there. Try not to despair that it’s hidden under this new demeanor.”
Have a listen to the episode for more brilliant nuggets of advice and reassurance from Becky.
Listen to the podcast:
You can find the episode in your usual podcast app, or if you prefer, you can listen online below, or through the podcast page.
Useful links to things we spoke about:
- News from Childline about the increase in calls from under 11s
- Paul Dolan – Happiness by Design
- Rainy Day Mum’s bread recipe
Where to find more from Becky:
- Becky’s books – Be Happy Be You, Create Your Own Calm, and you can pre-order Create Your Own Kindness on Amazon.
- Becky is also on Twitter, Instagram, and has her own website A Beautiful Space.
Subscribe to the Teenage Kicks podcast
Thank you so much for listening! Subscribe now to the Teenage Kicks podcast to hear about the new series when it begins. I’ll be talking to some fabulous guests about difficult things that happened to them as teenagers – including losing a parent, being hospitalised with mental health problems, and battling an eating disorder – and how they overcame things to move on with their lives.
I’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions for future topics on the Teenage Kicks podcast. Just email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can find me on Instagram and Twitter at @iamhelenwills. I appreciate every message, and love to hear from my listeners.
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Join me in the Teenage Kicks Facebook group!
If you’re a parent of teens it can be difficult to know where to go for advice, to vent, or just to talk. So I’ve made the Teenage Kicks Facebook group, for all parents of teenagers to chat in a safe space. You can request to join by clicking the button below. It’s a private group and everyone in there will be a parent of teenagers.