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A new guide to help navigate the terrible teens

30 August 2013

The teen years can be hell – both for the teenager and the parents.

To help make these difficult years easier, a new e-booklet prepared by The University of Melbourne and Orygen Youth Health Research Centre in partnership with beyondblue offers parents practical advice to help protect their adolescent children from depression and anxiety.

How to prevent depression and clinical anxiety in your teenager: Strategies for parents is the product of a project within the Parenting Strategies research program led by Dr Marie Yap and Prof Tony Jorm of The University of Melbourne.

The strategies are supported by research evidence and international experts in parenting and adolescent depression and anxiety.

beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO said it’s important for parents to know the risk and protective factors for the development of depression and anxiety in young people.

“Parenting during the teenage years can be challenging at any time.  It’s hard to distinguish normal teenage behaviour from the signs of something more serious like depression or anxiety,” Ms Carnell said.

“Therefore, parents need to know the difference and understand how they can help their kids.”

Some of the key strategies in the guidelines encourage parents to:

  • develop and maintain a close relationship with their children
  • stay involved in their children’s lives while encouraging them to develop increasing independence
  • support their children through any challenges they face
  • minimise conflict in the home.

Dr Marie Yap said dads, mums and carers have a very important role in protecting a child’s mental health as they enter their teens.

“Adolescence is a challenging time for teens and their parents, and though parents might sometimes question this, teenagers still need their parents,” she said.

“There are things parents can do to support their teens through this time as they develop into independent young adults.

“The most fundamental of these is maintaining a close and supportive relationship with their child.”

How to prevent depression and clinical anxiety in your teenager: Strategies for parents can be downloaded from www.parentingstrategies.net

This project was made possible by funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council and beyondblue.

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