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Your family’s approach to exercise

Young people learn behaviours about exercise from parents and family members. We look at ways you can encourage your depressed teen to exercise.
© University of Reading

Many families will already have a well-established pattern around exercise and activity. Children and young people learn behaviours and attitudes about exercise that are largely based on what their parents and family members do.

See if you can identify your teenager’s approach to exercise.

Exercise Type Next steps
It’s one of the few things they still enjoy – Reward their achievements with attention and words of support
– Be generous with praise and encouragement
– Think of what you can do to help them keep it up
– Offer practical support (for example, offering them a lift to their destination) to help them continue with exercise
They used to enjoy exercise but it’s hard to get going – Introduce exercise into everyday life – activity scheduling (see Week 3)
– Praise all efforts, especially if they’re not successful
– Consider your own habits – are you a good role model?
They’ve not taken exercise for years – Introduce exercise into everyday life – activity scheduling (Week 3)
– Identify barriers and ways round them – problem solving (Week 5)
– Consider involving other family members. Is this something the whole family might benefit from?
They hate exercise – Introduce exercise into everyday life – activity scheduling (Week 3)
– Are there other things that your child does or would like to do that would help them increase activity?
– Challenge negative beliefs about exercise – Thought challenging (Week 4)
– Get creative, identify new ways of being active – problem solving (Week 5)

Do you have any other suggestions or ideas that have helped encourage your teenager to get more active? Why not share them in the discussion below. Don’t forget you can ‘like’ or reply to any comment.

© University of Reading
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