Discuss Contemporary Issues with Teens
Engaging teens in discussions around current events and contemporary issues they may face or otherwise learn about can help them process and form their own perspectives and opinions based on trustworthy information. By establishing an open line of communication, teens are empowered to ask questions, reflect, and explore their own identity in the context of these issues.
To support parents in navigating these conversations, our Current Events toolkit offers engagement strategies, reflection activities, and actionable steps to model empathy for people impacted by specific events in the news while also helping teens develop media literacy skills.
We also encourage you to read our guide to Fostering Civil Discourse for tips on helping teens engage in productive conversations about contentious topics and with those whose beliefs conflict with our own.
Teach Empathy and Kindness
With many instances of bullying stemming from biases held against certain identity groups, teaching young people empathy for others is a critical component in changing bullying behavior and combating bigotry. Helping teens learn to understand, embrace, and even appreciate elements of others’ identities and lived experiences that may differ from their own, better equips them to be intentionally inclusive towards others and act as allies in the event those differences make a peer the target of bullying.
To help turn empathy and kindness into action, our guide to Advancing the Common Good in Times of Crisis explores ways you and your teen can grapple with overwhelming changes due to global crises and how small actions can make a positive difference beyond one’s own family and community.
Support Teen Mental Health
As rates of depression, self-harm, and suicide have increased in children and young adults over the last decade, it’s clear that mental health is an essential part of overall health. Childhood and adolescence mark critical periods of rapid development for cognitive, social, and emotional skills. Parents and caregivers play a vital role helping teens develop healthy coping strategies to protect and promote their mental wellbeing.