Helping a Lonely and Isolated Teen

 

lonely teenager by a window

Parenting a teenager is hard and helping them learn the necessary tools to navigate life’s challenges may seem impossible. As a parent, there are few things more painful in life than witnessing your child or children suffer. Teenage loneliness is inevitable at some point during one’s adolescence. However, it can be incredibly difficult to sit by and watch your isolated teenager suffer. Fortunately, there are a plethora of helpful tips and tools parents can use to help pull their lonely teen out of isolation. Helping your teenager cultivate healthy and effective coping mechanisms for navigating loneliness can serve them well beyond their teenage years. 

What You Can Do

Adolescence can be an incredibly confusing time in a young person’s life, and it is not uncommon for young people to cope with their teenage challenges by retreating. Instead of passively giving your teen space and letting them spiral downward into a deep hole of despair, you could take a more active role. There are many subtle and not so subtle ways you could help your isolated teenager combat loneliness. Consider the following tips, in no particular order:

  1. Provide options: make a list of possible extracurricular opportunities with your teen in which he or she would be willing to participate.
  2. Have open lines of communication: create an emotionally safe environment and have regular check-ins with your teenager. 
  3. Model: believe it or not, your teen is watching everything you do. Model healthy communication and be a living example of how to engage in relationships. 
  4. Establish and enforce boundaries: implementing clear boundaries at home can help your teen learn what healthy boundaries look like, which will then translate into their friendships.
  5. Encourage volunteer work: often helping others can be both personally rewarding and fulfilling, which can increase one’s sense of self-worth.
  6. Reinforce the notion that you cannot control others: it is not up to others to make your teen feel accepted; rather they must distinguish what makes them naturally foster a sense of belonging. 
  7. Practice healthy daily habits: help your teen develop a schedule that incorporates eating nutritiously, regular exercise and obtaining ample sleep. 
  8. Show unconditional support: listen to your teen and never hesitate to express your pride in their accomplishments, both big and small. 

It is helpful to remember that all teenagers are different, and some teenagers may simply enjoy being alone more than others. Keep an eye on your teen’s behaviors and be aware of any noticeable differences that may indicate a need for additional support. If you feel that your teen is at risk of engaging in self-harming behaviors and/ or harming others, it is essential to obtain guidance from a mental health professional immediately. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at info@pacificrtc.com.