Mental Health on Summer Vacation: How to Support Teens Who Aren’t in School

By O'Connor Professional Group

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While the school year can often be hectic for a parent with a teen with a mental health issue summer vacation presents a different set of parenting issues particularly to those parents whose children grapple with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder  or “ADHD”. While ADHD medications can often help teens focus throughout the school year, a lack of the structured classroom setting, the constant supervision of a teacher and with unstructured summer time ahead boredom may also infiltrate the life of a teenager struggling with ADHD.   

Encourage your teen to spend time outside in the fresh air. Not only will the extra exercise help work off excessive energy, an overabundance of sunlight also has a very positive effect on the psyche not just for those with mental illness but for all of us.

Limiting the use of electronic devices such as cell phones, computers and video games is also a constructive way to desensitize overstimulation and it will help your teen regain a sense of imagination about other possible activities to take part in.  Encouraging your teen to take a part-time job is another way to encourage your child to develop new social networks and make new friends. If your child is an older teenager a job as a Summer Camp Counselor would be a wonderful experience for them which would put them in a fun, recreational setting where they can not only get exercise, but enjoy the benefits of feeling as though they can become a mentor should they be fortunate enough to work with young children.  Encouraging volunteering experiences is also a great idea to keep your teen occupied during the summer.

If you are a parent with a teen with a mental health issue being “ahead of it” is half the battle. Should you be unable to come up with any ideas about how to fill your teen’s idle summer time reach out to a School Guidance Counselor well before the end of the school year. They may know of local agencies or high schools even that hold therapeutic summer programs your teen can attend.  Again, this will not only encourage developing new networks it will also help them improve social skills which most children with mental illness struggle with.

Let the O’Connor Professional Group take the guesswork out of putting a treatment plan together. Our combined personal and professional experience empowers us to empower you with a private consultation and customized plan of action for getting the help you need. Call us today for information: 617 910-3940

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