1. Some of the stresses that children feel can come from the adults around them. Be sensitive about talking about cost of living worries, for instance, in front of children and young people.
2. Adolescence is a time when teenagers become more self-contained and move away from their parents. Although they want independence, they also have wobbles when they want adult input. Parents should have regular “emotional check-ins” with their child; a one-on-one private time to ask them how they are doing.
3. Have oversight of your child’s social media. Check their phones regularly, particularly with younger teenagers, to see what they are looking at and who they are in contact with; it is simply the virtual equivalent of checking where your child is going and who with.
4. Know your children’s friends. If your child is struggling but can’t tell you what is happening, one of their friends might. It can be a safety net.
5. Parents have an important role in developing their child’s self esteem and sense of self-identity. Teenagers can have periods when they are completely down on themselves or are thinking they are the best thing ever. To encourage a balanced view, gently challenge them when they are being overconfident and make positive comments when they underestimate their abilities.
6. If you know your child is highly stressed about academic work and exams, locked in their bedroom working until 2am, it is time to intervene. Get them to go for a walk and talk about the topic they are worried about. It will give them a break and help them to synthesise the information and knowledge.
7. Know when to challenge and when not to. If in the course of asking your child to do something, for instance, you both get angry, it can escalate to a full-blown row. Don’t go up the stress curve. Step aside. Wait for everybody to calm down. Know when to stand your ground but also know when to back down.
8. Get them outside. Stepping into nature, away from devices and other people, will give you both space and give your well-being a boost. Taking a walk can also give you a chance to have that emotional check-in.
For more expert education support and career advice visit The Evening Standard’s Step Up Expo at London Olympia, 3-4 February 2023; stepupexpo.co.uk