Posted in Family, mental-health, Parenting

Why it’s imperative to Communicate with Your Teen about Mental Illness in your Family

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a weekend of picking out countertops, (yes, hubby and I have a home project) and fun stuff like laundry and housework.

I’m transitioning from running outside to running inside on the treadmill and I must say, it has been hard because running on the treadmill can be rather boring to say the least, but enough about that. I don’t want to talk about the treadmill today. LOL.

I was able to get some writing time in, but not as much as I would’ve liked. Sigh. There just aren’t enough minutes in the day sometimes, but enough about that, too. Today, I’d like to talk about the book I’ve been reading. “The Stressed Years of their Lives.”

It’s an excellent book and I recommend it for any parent whose kids are approaching high school or college age. It talks about how teen depression and anxiety are on the rise and how a mental illness can develop during this stressful period.

If you have a history of depression or anxiety in your family, it’s imperative that you communicate this to your children, so if they experience this type of reaction to stress, they’ll know what they’re dealing with. Sweeping it under the rug does not help them in any way shape or form. It only adds to their confusion and their shame.

Photo on Visual hunt

Sadly, when kids are experiencing anxiety or depression, they tend to lean toward self-medication or drinking and partying. When kids party too much, they can develop alcohol poisoning or even worse, OD. It’s because they aren’t experienced enough with drinking or drugs to know what their limits are. This leaves them vulnerable. When they pass out, they can be victimized by other intoxicated students who have impaired judgement.

Photo on VisualHunt

So, start talking to your kids now and tell them that anxiety runs in the family and it has many forms, like obsessive worrying, irrational fears, and perfectionism. These can all lead to an anxiety attack. Give them the information they need to identify what they’re dealing with, then give them the tools to help them handle the situation.

Unfortunately, we can’t prepare them for every stressor in life, but if we can help them develop their critical thinking, maybe they’ll have the tools to apply what they’ve learned from one situation to another.

In the book, it talks about how teens’ executive functioning skills aren’t fully developed yet, so that adds another dimension to the situation, because there’s no way to speed that process up. At least, not one that I’m aware of yet.

Photo credit: Daniela Hartmann (alles-schlumpf) on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

So, what it all boils down to is communicate with your kids, tell them if anxiety or mental illness runs in the family, so if they start developing symptoms, they’ll know to come to you for help or to seek out a mental health professional.

This book is pure gold for parents. I can’t recommend it enough. There is a lot to this book, so I’m going to be writing about it in a couple of different blog posts. So, stay tuned and let me know what you think! Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!


I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.

13 thoughts on “Why it’s imperative to Communicate with Your Teen about Mental Illness in your Family

    1. Yes! I’m crossing my fingers that I’m doing this parenting thing right, so I can keep the lines of communication open. 🙂 Crossing my fingers!! Thanks for stopping by and showing your support! 🙂

  1. I wish I had this book growing up! We’re stressed enough as adults, let alone teens leaving home and dealing with the pressures of school and social media. Cheers for sharing this, Lisa!

  2. I agree with all you have said – communication is key, especially with teens.
    Thanks for the recommendation – I’ll be looking into that book 😉
    (p.s. When I say all, I especially agree with there not being enough minutes in every day. Where the heck do they all go? Are they partying with the missing tupperware lids and missing sock-from-a-pair? 😛 )

  3. This is such great advice and I hope a ton of people buy this book. I had major anxiety disorder all the way back to early childhood and it only made me feel worse when adults would tell me that these were “the best years of your life”. I used to think, “Wait, you mean it’s only going to get WORSE from here??” Thankfully, it didn’t. 🙂

    1. I think I had anxiety during my college years, too. I wish I had this book when I was younger. It explains so much. I’m glad it was recommended to me. I’ve already started talking to my boys about anxiety and partying too much. Hopefully, it’s not going in one ear and out the other. 🙂

  4. Nice post Lisa 😀.

    I’m practically 46 and don’t know sqwot about are family medical history because my mother’s idea was bary your head in the sand that way it doesn’t exist and there’s no problem, This are things your child needs to know weather they want to or not.

    As for your running inside I read a article about that that said if you can make a video of you running throw your favorite spot or spots then play it on your TV when you have to run inside it would make it more injoyable or find a nature film or something you injoy watching.


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Dawn. I always appreciate your insight. I love the idea of making a video while I’m running outside so I have something to enjoy when I”m inside. What an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

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