Tips for Parents and Guardians

Caring for “The Acting Out Teen”

  • This teen often has problems with their grades, teachers, parents and often externalizes their problems while acting out and engaging in risk-seeking/taking behaviors. The teen usually acts like nothing matters when you take all of their things away.
  • They tend to cut on their arm so people can see
  • They will yell, argue, fight, and might run away if they don’t get their way
  • They are often poor at emotion-regulation, and often unskilled at communicating their feelings, and are unclear about what is really bothering them
  • The teen might present as very dramatic and depressed, and often hangs out with the wrong crowd of people

Caring for “The Perfect Teen”

  • The “perfect teen” is harder to see and often goes unnoticed. This teen may participate in many activities, has good grades, often has a job, and never gets into trouble. However, these teens often suffer in silence and their difficulties often go unnoticed.
  • These teens often present with anxiety, psychosomatic complaints, internalization, cutting, feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, feelings of being overwhelmed, decreased self-esteem, and may feel they are never good enough. Many of these are also depression symptoms.

Red Flags that They ARE NOT Okay:

  • Changes in behaviors
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Changes in sleeping
  • Loss of interest in activities they usually enjoy
  • Changes in how they normally communicate with you
  • Staying in their room more than usual

A lot of times, these are signs that your teen is struggling.

What Can You Do?

How can the physical and psychological consequences on teens be reduced? Studies have shown that using the mindfulness program and other tools and interventions can reduce negative symptoms.

As parents and guardians you can help your teen(s) by encouraging mindfulness practices and by engaging in mindful parenting.

Can You Offer Your Time?

  • Children and teens want to be heard.
  • Family dinners are a way for you and your teen(s) to connect
    • Ask about highs and lows of their day
  • Frequently check-in with your teen(s), even when you get no response.
  • Be present with your teen without multi-tasking—without doing anything else

Mindfulness Qualities

Bring attention, curiosity, and awareness of these qualities to yourself, your teen, and others:

  • Non-judging
  • Non-striving
  • Acceptance
  • Patience
  • Trust
  • Openness
  • Letting Go
  • Gentleness
  • Generosity
  • Beginners mind Empathy
  • Gratitude
  • Loving-Kindness
  • Respect
  • Forgiveness
  • Not-knowing
  • Being vs. Doing
  • Non-reactivity
  • Thoughts and feelings
  • Curiosity



It is difficult to care for someone else when you are not taking care of yourself. Self-care is NOT the same as being selfish. Model for your teen the importance of self-care.