Raising teens with confidence

Following the success of 'raising children with confidence' (RCWC), the training course for parents developed by the City of Edinburgh Council, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Team has developed a similar programme for parents of teenagers.  This complements training for staff in secondary schools and community settings on mental health and emotional wellbeing, and understanding how the teenage brain develops and its impact on behaviour.

With a template for five sessions covering emotional health and wellbeing, the teenage brain, risk, maintaining communication and parental wellbeing, three consultation events took place in Edinburgh between March and September 2013.  Parents of teenagers were invited from parent councils and the database of previous participants of RCWC.  30 attended.  An online version of the consultation was then sent out through parent councils in secondary schools, resulting in a further 118 responses.  The consultation aimed to gauge interest in such a course and to ensure that the course reflected what parents wanted.

The consultation found that:

  • 72% of respondents were interested in all the sessions
  • The most popular sessions were risk (58%); communication (36%); and the teenage brain (35%)
  • 86% of respondents thought that other parents and carers would be interested in a course of this type

Comments included:

'Any help with dealing with teenagers and maintaining a relationship with them is great!'

'Parents of teenagers become distanced from each other and a group setting would bring people together for peer discussion and support.'

'Finding help and support to navigate the teenage years is difficult.  Even having a space to connect with other parents of teenagers would be useful.'

The following training topics were popular:

  • How to communicate/negotiate with teenagers
  • Support with managing technology and social media issues (online safety)
  • Bullying and peer relationships
  • Teenagers and sleep
  • Mental ill health (particularly self-harm, stress and anxiety)

In response to the consultation, we added a sixth session covering stress.  The final programme is now:

  • What is emotional wellbeing and why is it important?
  • The amazing teenage brain - what's going on in there?
  • Risky business - managing adventure, risk and resilience
  • It's good to talk - the importance of staying connected
  • Flipping your lid - the brain under stress
  • Looking after your wellbeing - how to cope with the changes

The course runs over six sessions (of approximately two hours each).

The first pilot of Raising Teens with Confidence is now complete with two further pilots to run before the end of June.