Start the Conversation

Helping kids learn to navigate the world comes in many forms. As a parent, you coach your young child on the skills needed to walk, talk, eat, and grow. As your child grows, new skills are needed to navigate increasing responsibility. As these and physical changes occur, many feelings and emotions arise. Teenage life is a whole new world for you and your child. This journey requires more advanced emotional skills that need to be taught, practiced, and reinforced. Improvement comes through disappointments and trying again. Together you can make this transition a healthier one.

Talking with your tween about social and emotional health can be hard. The more often you have these conversations, the more comfortable they become. The first conversation won’t be perfect; that’s ok. The important thing is the you keep trying; this is not a one-time conversation.

Not sure when to start? How about now? Parents find that having these conversations while driving, making dinner, or while doing something fun is a great way to start. Use examples from your child’s life such as books, movies, TV, or daily events, to continue the conversation.

You know your child best. When you notice something off about your child, that’s a good time to chat. You can use your child's life experiences, like a fight with friends or a less than stellar grade, to start a conversation. Talking about the situation, feelings, and responses from everyone involved provides an opportunity to learn and grow.

Download the Feelings Wheel

The Feelings Wheel is a useful tool to facilitate conversations between you and your tween about what they are feeling and the linked underlying emotions.

Download the Talk to Tweens Safety Card

The Emotional Wellbeing Safety Card  is a quick reference guide to remind you of the tips and conversation starters to help you talk to  your tween.

Emotional Health

Emotional health is the ability to express feelings, adjust to emotional challenges, tolerate frustration, cope with life stressors, and enjoy life. It includes knowing our strengths and what we can get better at, persisting after failure and setback, living and working on our own, but letting others help us from time to time. With some tools, tips, and practice, you can become a parent pro at talking about emotional health. It starts with knowing how to recognize and identify your own emotions and help your child identify theirs.

Social Health

Social health is having healthy relationships with friends, family, and the community, and having an interest in or concern for others. Your tween will naturally begin pulling away from family while peers become more important. However, they are still learning how to interact with others and your support and encouragement can teach them healthy ways to build relationships. Allow your teen to practice their maturing social skills, then provide gentle encouragement on what went well and how they might improve. Having a good framework of how to have healthy relationships with peers and adults can set them up for lifelong success.

Primary Children's Behavioral Health Program

Learn more about the Primary Children's Behavioral Health program and the services we offer to children and teens.