Tips for Supporting Teenagers as They Head Back to School


Adolescents are returning to yet another year with Covid-19 challenges and restrictions.  In a recent article , How to Support Teenagers as They Head Back to School, author Lisa Damour offers some helpful tips on how we can help teenagers regulate their emotions on their own as well as with some gentle guidance.

It is first helpful to understand how your teenager expresses or contains their emotions.  Damour refers to a teenager’s swelling emotions as being like” the water cresting in a river: You want to keep it moving but not let it burst the banks.” Some teenagers need to vent their feelings or frustrations while others may need to contain their strong emotions with other activities such as listening to music or physical exercise.

Here are some ways adults can help:

To get feelings flowing:

Get out and about by going for a drive or taking a walk.

Keep them off the emotional hot seat by creating indirect conversation so as not to put  them on the spot.


To prevent emotional floods:

Serve as a sandbag by being a calm and patient presence.

Try distraction by suggesting that your teen set aside the issue and go do something fun.


If you are noticing that your teenager’s emotions seen to be controlling their daily life, you may want to reach out to a mental health professional.