The New Year is a chance to start fresh with your teen and set them up for a year of success. Mental wellness and health is important as it makes teens become mindful of their inner thoughts, feelings, desires, purpose, activities and relationships that make them feel valued. Here are five ways you can help set your teen up for a healthy, happy New Year.
Self-monitor their Internet usage. Often the Internet sites that youth frequent include a constant rating, evaluation or critique of their personal pictures and posts. The negative output of excessive critique diminishes creativity, originality, and individualism of some youth. They lose insight about their opinion because they are seeking a certain level of approval before they feel validated. It is important to continue to be creative and seek balanced perspectives that do not totally destroy their personal beliefs.
Evaluate their friend groups. Do their friends make them feel positive or stressed out? Perhaps they need to include more positive friends when they return to school. They should include friends that are loyal and want positive relationships and academic success. Your teen should also be aware if they have a friend that wants to isolate them from enjoying other people. If a friend is causing your teen stress with other friends, in classrooms, on social media, or with you, they need to consider whether the friend is adding or taking away their stress.
Add positive activities. Encourage your teen to join a club or sports team at school. Finding a part-time job can also build a sense of independence and responsibility. Volunteering can also foster a feeling of accomplishment because it feels good to give back to the community.
Failure. Teach your teen that failure shouldn’t be considered permanent, but rather one step closer to doing something better the next chance they get to do the same thing or something similar. Failure also means that they have actively engaged in life, but the outcome did not work for them and they need to change their action steps. Everybody fails, but the difference is everyone does not seek improvement after failure. Choose to make improvements after failure immediately, and they will start to quickly learn that failure is one step closer to improvement.
List goals. Get your teen to place the goals they want to accomplish on an index card. Next, get them to write down one sentence for each goal. Leave a space to the right of the goal to write the completion date once the goal is accomplished. The goals should be placed in a location where your teen can see them at the beginning and end of the day. You can suggest that your entire family participates in the New Year by writing down their own goals. Everyone in the family can encourage each other throughout the year. Creative awards can be given out for the most enthusiastic, best work ethic, highest number of goal accomplishments, and most positive, regardless of goal completion.
Youth generally experience the emotional, social, and psychological impact of their life journey in a more intense manner than adults. It is important that they have the tools to navigate the blank slate of the New Year with supportive adults who are managing their own wellness habits.
Paula Rainer is currently the Academic Coordinator and Counseling Program coordinator at the Argosy University. Dr. Rainer holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision and M.Ed. in Counselor Education from Virginia Tech.