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A Guide to Parenting a Teenager with Mental Illness

Supportive parenting and therapy in Maryland can help set your teen on the right track

It is hard to know exactly what is right for your teen when you feel that they are behaving differently than before. Growing up is more difficult for some teens than others, and your child could just be experiencing a low point. There is also the possibility that your teen could be suffering from a mental illness like depression or anxiety.

Depression and anxiety are very common in teens, so you are far from the only parent with a struggling child. The problem is that many teens are labeled as moody or difficult and are not given the proper resources they need to overcome mental illness. 

You want to support your teen and help them manage their symptoms, but you might not yet know how. We have created a list of tips and strategies to help you find a therapist in Maryland, identify the signs of mental illness, and help your teen navigate their symptoms. 

Seek Therapy in Maryland to Assist Your Teen

By going to therapy in Maryland, your teen can express their thoughts to a professional

young man in black hoodie with therapist behind couch thick rimmed glasses white walls pillows
You might not always be the best confidant for your teen.

One thing about teenagers is that they are not always the most communicative. If your teen is experiencing symptoms of mental illness, you can start by finding your teen therapy in Maryland. If your teen is not willing to communicate directly with you, a therapist provides a professional setting where your child can openly express their fears or concerns. 

Talk therapy is beneficial to so many that are currently suffering from mental illnesses. Start by scheduling a triage appointment for your teen so that you and a therapist can establish a baseline and begin talking about a care plan. Reassure your teen that the therapist is there to help and that therapy is a safe space to talk about any issues they might be affecting them. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to go to therapy.

Learn the Symptoms of Mental Illness in Teens

It is not always easy to know how your teen is thinking or feeling

young woman lying down on bed clutching pillow upset depression symptoms jeans curly hair
Excessive sleeping is one of the many symptoms of mental illness in teens.

If you suspect that your teen is showing signs of mental illness, but you are not totally sure, there are a few signals you can look for. It is relatively normal for teens going to school every day to be tired or sluggish. However, there are some changes to look out for that are signs of common mental illnesses. Let’s explore a few of the most common personality changes that can signal mental illness:

  • Excessive sleeping 
  • Worsening grades in school
  • Heightened levels of anxiety
  • Persistent aches and pains
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hyperfocusing on physical appearance

Find The Right Terminology to Speak About Mental Health

It is best to avoid any judgemental or dismissive language when having these important conversations

young daughter mom holding glasses of milk white background smiling conversation
Learn the right language to lift your child up when they are feeling down.

If you have never suffered from mental illness, it can be more difficult to understand how mental illness affects your child. To mediate any conflict and start connecting with your teen, it is important to choose your words very carefully. Do not pass judgement with questions like “What is wrong with you?” or “Can’t you just cheer up?” as these questions could be very harmful to someone struggling with mental illness. Learn the right vocabulary to make your teen feel supported and loved, rather than judged.

Discuss Mental Illness With Your Teen

It is often up to parents to destigmatize mental illnesses for their teens 

mom and daughter hugging support on bed teen bedroom white sheets open window caring emotional
If you are comfortable talking about mental health issues you set a great example for your teen.

Once you have identified some of the symptoms or encouraged your teen to talk to a therapist, you can start having conversations with your teen about mental health. It is important to tell your teen that it is OK to struggle with a mental illness and that you are there to help. If your teen can be totally honest with you, then you can better know how to get them the help they need. If parents incorrectly set an example that mental health issues are to be kept a secret, it can potentially be very harmful to the young psyche. 

Get Advice From a Trusted Pediatrician or Family Doctor

A family doctor can provide insight on your teen’s physical and mental health

older doctor shaking hands with mother laptop office lab coat stethoscope desk
Your family doctor is a useful resource for insight on your teen’s mental health.

There are a lot of factors that can lead to mental illness in teens. Because there are so many variables, it is a good idea to contact your child’s family doctor for some advice. Only your child’s doctor has their full medical history and can help you identify exactly why your teen is struggling. There could be underlying conditions or even family history of mental illness that you may not have considered before. If your family doctor cannot make a diagnosis, it is best to take your child to a different doctor or a therapist to get some help.


If you think your child is experiencing mental illness based on the symptoms we listed above, it is best to take action as soon as possible. Mental illness will not get better if left unchecked and could even potentially worsen. Being a teenager is difficult, so it is important that you approach the subject with care and understanding. Most teens will benefit from going to therapy in Maryland to talk about their issues with a professional. However, you can still support and reassure your child at home by using the right language and keeping the conversation open. If you think your teen is suffering from a mental illness, you can contact The Psych Associates of Maryland and schedule an appointment with a licensed professional.

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