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Reviewing progress

You may need to remind your teenager regularly to apply the things that have been helpful to them. It’s a good idea to also practise strategies when they’re having a relatively OK day or few days, so that it becomes easier for them to remember what to do in times of greater stress or on worse days.

If you can encourage your teenager to see these strategies as habits, then it’ll become automatic and it’ll feel much less of an effort. For example, you may have encouraged your child to evaluate their thoughts and try to think differently. If this strategy becomes more of a habit, when you notice your child engaging in negative thinking, you may be able to simply say a reminder phrase such as ‘is it the negative thinking again?’ This may be enough to help them make a change there and then.

It might make sense to have a list of useful strategies (as seen in Step 5.15 somewhere to hand, such as on the wall in your child’s bedroom or even on the fridge. It doesn’t have to be a long list or be overly serious, just a simple reminder of the things that seem to have a positive effect on your teenager’s mood. You can find a copy of this at the bottom of this Step.

Ideally, if you can set aside half an hour each week to review progress, this will help you to keep on the right track. This might be a regular slot each week that you know tends to be a quiet time for your family. During this time, you could reflect on your own or think together with your teenager about progress on the goals, and about which strategies seem to be helping and how to use these more often.

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This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

University of Reading