The Unhappiness of the Young. (11-18 year olds). Steps for Parents/Guardians/ to Take.

Far too many young people in comprehensive schools/colleges (aged 11-18), and others, suffer far too much and far too often.

Parent(s), guardian(s) are perplexed, frustrated and find it difficult to reach into their children to try to get some understanding of their obvious unhappiness.

We read about 1 in 7 (14%) 10–19-year-olds experience mental health issues.

Parents and others want to understand why the young person behaves in such a manner – withdrawal, anxiety, anger, depression, dark moods and more.

A caring parent wants to help, wants to nourish the child recognising a problem shared is a problem halved.

The youngster:

  • may not know the root cause of their unhappiness. So she or he cannot tell the parent.
  • may know what triggers a reactive mood but does not want to tell the parent.
  • may fear the parent will start worrying, get angry or start asking invasive questions.
  • perhaps the root cause the youngster or parent think it is proves to be mistaken.
  • may not realise two or three conditions or more equally have their impact rather than a root cause.

A controlling/demanding reaction of a parent can end up reinforcing the unhealthy mind state of the teenager instead of finding a way out of it, step by step. It is sometimes two steps forward and one step, or even two or three steps back for periods. Patience, love and creative engagement have the power to make a difference towards finding wellbeing for the youngster.

A parent/guardian also may not have an answer or a wise response even if they know the root cause or primary conditions or lots of conditions. A parent may believe sincerely of their love for their unhappy youngster but carries on in the same  way, either pressing the child for information or waiting for a change in the child to arise. Neither approach shows love. A repetitious response is not love but a confirmation of a habitual reaction. Love finds creative ways to engage.

One of the most commonly used prescription drugs for young people treats ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Some young people take the pill in a room in the school with the pill’s impact lasting until the end of  school hours. The children do not take the medication over the weekend or during school holiday. Difficulty in paying attention and impulsive behaviour are two primary features of ADHD. The pill supports some children while others resist being deskbound day after day in the classroom. Not surprisingly, their energy takes them out of the class so they can experience space and freedom of movement.

Internal/external pressures/unhappiness spring from a combination of the above factors as well as influence from the genes. Nobody knows the percentage for inner/outer or hereditary influences.

All, some or one of these conditions (outer, inner, hereditary) can lead a young person onto thoughts of self-harm or a desire to end their life. Around 3% of youngsters act upon the thought.

The possibilities for the unhappiness for young people grows decade by decade.

A root cause, primary causes or several conditions can mean mental health issues dominating daily life.

Common examples of conditions for mental health issues among the young.


  • a broken heart
  • a parent constantly slagging off the other parent in front of the child
  • abuse
  • addiction to Tick-Tock, Instagam, Chat and more
  • addiction to Video games, 
  • alcohol
  • bedwetting
  • bullying
  • digital media
  • fear of failure
  • food issues
  • future anxiety
  • gangs
  • insomnia
  • loneliness
  • nightmares
  • obsessive use of mobile phone
  • parental behaviour
  • peer behaviour
  • pressure at school,
  • problematic home life
  • racism
  • self-image,
  • social media,
  • trauma, sudden or gradual, recently or years ago
  • use of drugs,

Young people remain vulnerable to feeling lonely and isolated, rejection from their peers, being discriminated again, struggling with school/teachers/homework and exam results.

 The future, personal and global, can have an impact on Generation Z, the millennials.

  • worry about upcoming exams
  • insecurity about getting a job
  • academic pressure
  • diminishing resources
  • social unrest
  • wars
  • pollution
  • climate crisis.

Towards Wellbeing for Youngsters and Parents/Guardians

A parent, who suggests talking about the problem together, may receive strong resistance from the child to any suggestion of co-operation.

It will require immense patience and kindness to dissolve some of the bricks in the wall between parent and young person. Parent and child may need support, via family, friends, social services and clinics.

To make no changes in routine of the daily life means the issues for the young person may well continue long past adolescence.


Read carefully. Take note of say three suggestions you will begin starting today. You may have other ideas. Take a note. Apply, adapt and engage. Bring happiness to the youngster. See if you can find out what she or he would like to do.

Written in no Particular Order

1.Mindful exercises,

Engage in sharing a short daily household activity from washing the dishes to exercise, yoga, meditation, dance, going for a walk. Find the time to share together.

2. Early sleep

One does not recover fully going to bed later and getting up late. Early night can generate more energy.

3. Creativity

Find ways to develop creativity together– drawing, a musical instrument, reading, dance, photography.

4. Time with a Pet

Play with a pet or feed birds – to develop love and happiness.

5. Outdoors

Time outdoors. Hot or cold, wet or dry. Take walks around. Spot what you have not noticed before.

6. Time in Nature

Park, countryside, people, animals, birds, flowers and more to see and hear.

7. Acts of Kindness for Others in Need

What can the family do for others – people, animals and the environment?

8.Influence on the Body

Biological shifts, time of the month, physical movement or lack of it affect well-being. Know your children through every stage of adolescence.

9. Join Facebook Group of shared interest!

Facebook Groups and other Groups enable cooperation to give support to parents to benefit the children.

10.Set time limit on use of mobile phone.

Engage in fullness of the day to reduce dependency/addiction to the mobile phone.

11.Keep communication open with youngsters.

Listen very carefully to the youngsters when he or she speaks. Ask questions rather than give solutions unless asked for.

12. Find out about mental health resources in your area.

Give plenty of time to find out what is available. Ask around, including professions in areas of mental health.

13. Ring mental health authorities/police if youngster runs away or becomes violent.

Have phone numbers at hand. Endeavour beforehand to have phone numbers of child’s friends and parents. Consult with a person you trust about youngster’s behaviour.

14. Engage in Research

If you have a sense of the issues or issue with your child, then find out as much information as possible. Share, Google information. Youtube. Listen. Recognise sudden changes in behaviour.

15. Talk with Professionals

Talk with a doctor, paediatrician, health care workers and other professionals. Write down the questions/concerns that you have. Take notes or record what you hear. Parents find it challenging to wait weeks, months to see a paediatrician, get any ongoing support or treatment due to  the sheer numbers of youngsters experiencing a very hard time.

16. Forming rituals.

Eat together around the table, family night of games, check-in before sleep, share something if walking or driving to school.

17. Listening and Loving

Listening and loving. Numerous acts of kindness for your youngster. Your quiet sustaining the power of your love makes a real difference to the other.

18.The Benefits

Your development of change will benefit many in the short and long term, including your child and yourself.



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