Helping Your Child Open Up

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    Activity: More often than not, when something is upsetting an adolescent, they really do want to talk about it, but may be afraid to for a number of reasons. If you find yourself getting frustrated with your child when they say “nothing” – or even completely silent! – when you ask them if something’s wrong, it might be worth having a discussion with your child not about what is bothering them, but why they don’t want to open up. Consider the following questions to ask your child:

    • Does sharing your worries or stress with someone ever make you feel guilty? Do you feel like you are burdening them?
    • Do you ever avoid talking about something for fear of embarrassment? If so, what kinds of topics feel uncomfortable or embarrassing? Who do you feel comfortable talking to about that kind of thing?

    Discussion: Leave your thoughts about your experience and the conversation that you had (or couldn’t have) with your child. You can also leave questions that you may have before talking to your child, or questions that you want to make sure are okay to ask.

    Check out these articles to get some more info about what can prevent adolescents from opening up about their mental health:

    The Stigma of Talking About Your Mental Illness

    Growing Up with Anxiety

    Concealing My Depression

    When Should You Seek Help?

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