Advice for Parents: Supporting the mental health of children and teens during change 

Raising children can feel meaningful, enjoyable and rewarding. However, caring for kids and teens often involves a tremendous amount of worry. We tend to fret over their health, school performance, social behavior and more. 

Many parents and caregivers are also worrying more about their kids’ emotional wellness. We want our kids to enjoy life, feel good about themselves and recover from setbacks. When our children aren’t thriving, it can be profoundly stressful for the whole household. Often, kids and teens need the most help during times of change—such as going to a new school, making new friends or trying a new sport or activity. 

Fortunately, parents and caregivers can play a pivotal role in helping their kids navigate transitions. 

  • Talk about what’s changing. Ask your kids to share pleasant and unpleasant feelings. Let them know that what they’re feeling makes sense given the circumstances and encourage them to be patient with themselves. 
  • Check in regularly. Initiate regular conversations about personal thoughts and feelings. Such conversations can support a trusting relationship and help your child feel more comfortable sharing distress.
  • Exude optimism. Look for the positive and express enthusiasm about what’s changing and remain confident that your child will adjust. Maintaining a positive attitude can help your child feel more confident. 
  • Manage your own reactions. Remind yourself that your child will likely adapt, especially with your support. Managing your stress through self-care can also show kids how to manage their stress.
  • Watch for signs of distress. Upsetting changes in behavior or ups and downs in mood are typical—especially for teens who are navigating changes. It can be hard to know when our kids’ upsetting behaviors warrant concern. Learning the signs of distress can help us know when to act.  

Lyra can help you clarify your family’s needs and identify a plan of action, so you don’t have to do it alone. Lyra offers easy online sign-up, a personalized match with a coach or counselor and minimal wait times for families, parents and children of all ages.  

With Lyra, you’ll have access to effective parenting tools with: 

  • Dedicated coaching – partner with a specialized parent coach to discuss challenges and implement evidence-based parenting strategies. 
  • Specialized content – practice new skills between coaching sessions with short, digestible videos, exercises and guides. 
  • Evidence-based approaches – learn research-backed techniques shown to improve child behavior and decrease parenting stress. 

Join or Learn More 

Vanderbilt employees and their families are eligible to receive 12 counseling sessions per household member each year, at no cost to employees.  

Sign up today at or call 877-804-2856.  

You can view frequently asked questions on the Office of Health and Wellness website.