Setting Teens Up for Success


Here are a few tips to help parents support teens or children to get back on track socially, emotionally, and academically, so they can succeed in school, have fulfilling relationships, and maintain good mental health.


Challenge as a springboard to growth

Teens need to understand stress can actually lead to growth, and navigating hard times can make them stronger. Because the adolescent brain is in a process of changing and maturing, it’s more flexible and resilient. As long as teens have the support they need—including caring, authentic connections with parents, caregivers and, at least one peer—they can and will recover from distressing experiences. A therapist, school counselor, or mental health program can provide additional support. If parents, caregivers, and teachers can shift the narrative to focus on teens’ strengths and ability to adapt and change, young people are more likely to feel empowered.


Strengthen social skills

For teens with social anxiety, getting through a school day can be extremely difficult. Even if they don’t have social anxiety, today’s adolescents struggle more in relationships with family members or friends because they’re so accustomed to communicating via their devices. The self-consciousness many teens experience in social situations is heightened by their constant focus on online interactions. A few ways to support kids who experience anxiety around social interactions are:

  • Help them learn coping strategies for dealing with anxiety in the moment, such as mindful breathing exercises and compassionate self-talk
  • Encourage them to get together with small groups of people they feel comfortable with, rather than larger gatherings
  • Ask what interactions they’re most worried about, and role-play these situations in advance
  • Explore in-person summer programming that brings teens together in a supportive environment to gain comfort in social situations and strengthen relationships skills


Academic support

Between the everyday stressors distracting teens and the high rates of mental health concerns, academic engagement and achievement are both down among high school students. The mental health challenges impacting students’ learning are even more critical to address than the academic achievement gaps.


Prioritize these two powerful factors proven to enhance teen well-being.

  • Evidence points to two powerful benefits for teen mental health: family connection and getting enough sleep. Research shows when families feel close and connected—including strong parent-child communication, bonding time with siblings, and regular family mealtimes, teens are less likely to experience depression. Allow for more family togetherness.
  • Sleep plays a critical role. Adolescents who regularly sleep seven or more hours per night are about 50 percent less likely to be depressed. We all know how busy a child can be with their social lives, school responsibilities, and extracurricular activities. One good tip: Have everyone plug their phones and tablets into a charger in the living room before bed.


Address mental health issues now rather than hoping they’ll go away on their own

As a result of the global mental health crisis, the stigma surrounding mental health disorders has finally begun to break down. However, that doesn’t mean that teens’ symptoms can be ignored, or that they will go away by themselves. Teens who are experiencing trauma, anxiety, depression, and/or suicidal ideation need professional assessment and treatment before a crisis occurs.


Newport Academy’s residential programs provide tailored treatment plans that address mental and physical needs and include individual, family, and group therapy.

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