From TikTok to table talk: Helping youth develop healthy self-expression habits

Teen social media trends vividly tell the story of disrupted life with destructive behaviors splashed on social media. As more in-person activities resume, these are reminders that some youth continue to struggle with self-expression.

Anxiety and depression have risen among adolescents along with self-harming behaviors in recent years. There have been more incidents of destroying or defacing property, punching walls, as well as more attempts to self-injure.

“Emotional regulation is a learned skill that needs practice,” said Rosecrance Griffin Williamson Campus Clinical Director Jason Relle. “Youth have experienced new, uncomfortable emotions that they don’t know how to express yet, and that fight-or-flight response tends to come out inappropriately at times.”

To encourage a positive self-understanding of feelings, Relle encourages parents to help youth maintain a healthy routine and find hobbies to explore. In addition, adults can create safe spaces for communication by establishing safe spaces for conversation, such as weekly movie nights or family diners.

Rosecrance develops socioemotional abilities by incorporating skill-based therapeutic recreation. Adolescents may grow a plant in the conservatory, try painting, go on hikes, or discover the power of words through journaling