This short blog answers the question: how to be an emotionally supportive parent. You may be at the point where you’re looking to strengthen your relationship with your child. It could be that they are entering their adolescent years, and getting older.
As they navigate through school, friendships, and establishing their identity, they need support. As parents, you play a big role in supporting them. You can make significant differences in their everyday lives.
By practicing these three steps, you can be an emotionally supportive parent. First, practice active listening. You may also find yourself asking your teen, do they want you to listen, or give your opinion? Second, hold space for big feelings. Finally, make sure to take care of your own mental health.
How to Be an Emotionally Supportive Parent: Practice active listening
Active listening is when you listen attentively, understand what they’re saying, and remember what they are telling you. You may reflect on what they are saying, and repeat things back to make sure you properly understand their point of view.
This could look like your teen expressing stress around something. They share how it makes them feel, how it makes them perceive themselves, and they are unsure of how to navigate it. In this instance, you will allow them to fully express their thoughts and emotions.
You may repeat back, “It sounds like you’re having a really hard time with this, and it’s making you feel like you aren’t good enough”, for example. As time goes on, you’ll want to keep this in mind, and circle back to them. Such as, “Hey, how is [that thing] going for you? I want to know how I can support you through this.”.
Sometimes, teens just want you to listen to them without you jumping to try to help them solve the problem. They want to feel independent, and like they have it under control on their own. However, let them know that you are there to help them outside of listening, if they need it.
How to Be an Emotionally Supportive Parent: Hold space for big feelings
Holding space for big feelings is crucial as an emotionally supportive parent. As your teen navigates common stressors, it’s normal for them to feel frustrated or agitated. For example, it could be that they had a bad day. Something happened in a friendship, relationship, or in class.
You notice that they aren’t talkative, seem grumpy, and just want to be left alone. By doing a quick check-in with them, they’ll know that you are interested in how they are doing. You may ask, “I can tell you’re struggling right now. I want to give you some space, but if you need anything, let me know and I’m here for you.”.
It’s important to not take these things personally, either. Teens may project their big feelings onto you, and may even find ways to blame you for things. However, at that moment, they are struggling to cope with their stressors at hand. Keep this in mind, and see how you can still provide them support.
This isn’t to say that you should brush over and allow your teen to take out big feelings on you. You can point out that how they’re talking to you does not make you feel good. However, you know it’s something personal with them, and you still want them to feel supported.
Teen therapy in Simi Valley, CA helps teens strengthen their communication skills around their feelings or needs. Make sure to read our blog on 5 Tips for Parenting Teenagers.
How to Be an Emotionally Supportive Parent: Make sure to take care of your own mental health
Parents – please make sure to take care of your own mental health! Your needs, feelings, and state of mind matter. Being a parent is difficult, and sometimes, it feels like you’re having curve balls thrown at you. You may experience feeling burnout, overwhelmed, or like giving up.
Taking care of your own mental health can happen in various areas. One of them could be at work, and maintaining strong boundaries with colleagues. Noticing signs of stress coming up in you can help in coping and managing them. Practicing positive self-talk will go a long way.
Perhaps you are struggling in personal relationships, or with yourself. Addressing these issues, rather than trying to avoid them, can help bring resolution and a sense of relief. Maybe you are needing to incorporate more “me-time”, and engage in your own individual interests.
This could look like staying active, having alone time, de-stressing at the end of the day, or more. Seeking out couples therapy or individual therapy can also help you identify ways to take care of yourself.
You are deserving of feeling heard, understood, and that you can successfully manage stressors as they come up as well. Therefore, consider reaching out for a free consultation, where we can help you determine which therapy service best fits your or your family’s needs.
In-person therapy in Simi Valley is ideal for those seeking a separate, safe space from their home. Therefore, check out our blog on Online Therapy or In Office Therapy to understand what format is best for you. Another great blog to read is ours on if you need Therapy or Medication to address your issues.
By seeking out support, you can begin your journey to feeling relief. Therefore, you don’t have to go through finding the right level of support alone, either.
Consider calling our therapy group at (805) 774-1506 for a free consultation on how you or a loved one can get started today!
Seek out a validating, safe environment with us today. We will help you get to where you want to be. Our therapists provide trauma therapy, teen therapy, individual adult therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, family therapy, and more in-office in Simi Valley, CA.