by RH

Supporting your child’s wellbeing over the holidays.

Recently there has been an abundance of talk about the rise in mental health issues in Canterbury. We need to understand that our young people are just as vulnerable.

The holidays are fast approaching and most students will find this as a welcome break to rest, recover and reset, however for those who have been experiencing significant stress or low moods, sometimes a break is just not enough.

The great news is that you can help their journey to wellness.  Remember to talk to your children about how they’re doing, even if they don’t have much to say, (they are teenagers after all).  Doing this reminds your child that you care and are there for them if they need it.   The tips below are fantastic tools for chatting with your teenager.

Ask subtle and indirect questions:

Teens are much more likely to talk if it doesn't feel like you’re just probing for information

Listen, listen and continue to listen without interrupting:

Once you interrupt, your child is likely to shut down. Just let them talk and vent, and they will be so appreciative.

Don’t be overly emotional:

Try not to overreact or your child may stop talking. You may be getting upset but breathe deeply and present yourself as calm so that your teens will continue to be open with you.

Try very hard not to be judgmental:

Teens are very sensitive to how their parents perceive them. If they get the slightest inkling of disapproval, they are likely to end the conversation.

Be physically present and available:

Teens tend to see their parents as unavailable, which often surprises parents. When your child is in a room with you, consider shutting off your device so that you can give them your full attention. Surprisingly, teens are extremely sensitive to rejection and to what they perceive as a lack of interest and unavailability.

Initiate one-on-one conversations. 

These conversations – when there’s no other audience present – will be much appreciated because teens are both self-conscious and private.

If you are concerned about your child, here is a list of possible resources you can access to support them:

  • You can make an appointment with the G.P. - they should be able to access counselling for you if required
  • You can search for services at
  • You can access free counselling through
  • 298 Youth Health Centre offers free medical care and counselling for those ages 10-24
  • Petersgate in Churchcorner provides affordable counselling
  • If your work has EAP, your children can access free counselling

You could encourage your child to:

If you have serious concerns about your child’s immediate safety contact CAF emergency on 0800 218 219 or dial 111