As parents we often focus entirely on what our children are saying but sometimes what they are not saying can be an even bigger indicator of where they are socially, emotionally, physically, and mentally. The nonverbal cues and behavior our children exhibit can be a very accurate barometer for how they are surviving the turbulent teenage years. It is up to us as parents to pay attention to these nonverbal cues and the issues that either already exist or have the potential of becoming a problem in the future.
A child’s silence can often be an indicator of depression, academic or social struggles at school, or sometimes even suicidal thoughts. When teens feel like they have no one to talk to, they tend to internalize their negative thoughts and feelings, which can become a downward spiral of negativity and hopelessness. The best thing we can do as parents is to be aware and watch for changes in their behavior, moods, and interests. We have to be conscious of the silent signs that are present in our children that we might not be used to looking for.
It is easy to get busy with everyday life and not notice subtle changes in our children until the changes have become larger, more obvious problems. If we can be more proactive, listening to what they aren’t actually saying we may be able to stop things from getting to the point where it has to go from prevention to intervention. The world is not an easy place for adults to navigate; why should we expect teens to be able to do it without our help, support, and guidance?
As parents, we need to learn to work with our teens and not against them, respecting their individuality and growing independence without failing to provide them with the support they need. We need to keep lines of communication open and be available to our teens without being judgmental. Above all, our children have to know that they will always have our love, support, and encouragement, in good times and bad.
This guest post is by Tiana Green of IGotMomPower.com, a community designed to support moms in all their roles. A site for moms, by moms.