by Lisa M. Schab, LCSW
Help your teen manage mood swings and overwhelm with a book that will both calm them down and make them smile. Wrap it up with a pack of gel pens and you’ve got a gift that will benefit both your teen and your whole family!
Because of the vast amount of physical, emotional, and neurological change that occurs during adolescence, it’s typical for all teens to experience mood swings, whether that’s a normal reaction to a poor test grade or social rejection or a deluge of tears or intense blow-up for no apparent reason.
Put Your Feelings Here provides a tool for all teens to reduce and release intense emotion in the moment. It’s designed for both teens working with professionals and on their own.
- Since adolescent development involves more physical, emotional, and cognitive change than any other stage of life, it’s normal for any child in this age group to experience mood swings, making this book a helpful tool for just about every teen.
- If your child needs help managing their emotions but is resistant to counseling, this book provides a teen-friendly introduction to emotional regulation skills. Much of the content is based in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) which is the longstanding treatment of choice for emotional regulation. The book’s nontraditional, creative approach also helps reduce the stigma around the subject of mental and emotional health.
- If your teen is working with a counselor on emotional regulation, this book can help in that process. It offers evidence-based ways teens can practice managing their emotions, and it can be a source of relief and help between formal sessions. Because of the journal’s lighthearted format, it offers a break from traditional talk therapy, which can feel heavier.
- Some teens are actually interested in increasing their self-awareness and practicing self-help. This is great! This book makes a good gift for kids curious about mental and emotional self-care.
- A teen’s intense emotions can increase around certain events—like giving an oral presentation, a relationship break-up, a sibling argument, or any disappointment. At such times, remind your teen to try using this book. It’s a ready, convenient tool for reducing their high emotions in the moment.
- Even if your teen is relatively stable and steady, there will come a time when emotion flares up. Using this book as a form of prevention (practicing emotional regulation before the flare-up hits) will make a teen more ready to manage things in a healthy way when it does occur.
- If your teen is one who resists talking about feelings, this book can be used to open the topic. Presenting it with a comment like “I thought this looked kind of fun” or “I know you don’t like talking about this stuff, but maybe you could give this a try” can open the conversation. At the very least, it will put a helpful tool into their hands, even if they don’t share their thoughts and feelings with you.
- It’s not uncommon for teens to reject their parents’ suggestions, but then turn around and accept the same advice from another source. This book can provide that other non-parental source of help for managing emotions. It gives the teen an arena for learning about and practicing emotional regulation without feeling they’re being preached to.
- Some teens are more open about their feelings, and can even tolerate working on emotional regulation with you. If they’re receptive, you can try completing the prompts in this book together.
- If more than one family member needs help managing emotions—and if they’re receptive—prompts can be worked on as a family activity. (Don’t feel bad if your teen will have nothing to do with this idea! There are some teens who will be okay with it, but probably more who will not.)
- If your teen shares with you any part of what they’ve expressed in this journal, do your very best to listen and receive it without judgment. Criticizing their expressions will generally close off this crucial communication, while acceptance can keep that channel open.
- Use the journal yourself! Yes, it’s geared for teens, but it actually works for anyone who wants help with emotions. One of the best things we can do for our kids is to be healthy ourselves. And working prompts designed with a teen flavor can help you remember what it felt like to be in the throes of adolescence and empathize more with your own teen.