PART TWO: The Flourish Journey Facilitator Georgie Mason On Building A Resilient Future For Teens

by Georgie Mason
3 February 2024

Our role as facilitators is to provide teenagers with a safe space to share authentically about how they are going…

Part of our workshops involves providing young people the opportunity to brainstorm and reflect as a group on the ways that they like to receive support from friends, family, and respected adults. The purpose of this activity is to help young people identify the many ways that they can receive support whilst reminding them of the importance of communicating these preferences with the people in their lives.  

If we have any concerns about young people throughout the workshop, we check in with them and connect them with ongoing support at school and if need be, in their wider community.

If a parent is concerned about their child experiencing signs of anxiety or depression, the best thing to do is provide them with a safe environment that will allow them to share, validate these feelings and encourage ongoing support and assessment with a local GP.

If a teen comes home from school and seems sad or angry, we would recommend beginning by inviting them to share how they are really going, whilst also letting them know it’s okay if they’re not ready to share anything with you yet. While this may seem like an obvious first step, prompting this discussion is a great way to create a safe environment for your teenager to share about any uncomfortable emotions.

Beyond this, role modelling vulnerability and emotional openness with your teenager is incredibly important in showing them that they have permission to feel sad, angry or anxious and also to share these feelings with you.

“When young people in our workshops are ‘challenging’, ‘sassy’ or ‘mean’ we often notice that these are the young people who are struggling the most…”

When we ask young people how they want their family and guardians to support them through challenging times, their answers are often varied. Some of their answers include simply going for a walk or drive together, shopping, cooking together or watching a movie.

Many teenagers we speak to appreciate it when their parents just listen to what they are going through, without giving advice unless specifically asked for.

Given everything we hear from teenage girls and gender-diverse teens, it is important to stress the benefit of an open dialogue between teenagers and parents about the best ways that support can be given and received.

When young people in our workshops are ‘challenging’, ‘sassy’ or ‘mean’ we often notice that these are the young people who are struggling the most…

If your child is lashing out, we would encourage you to provide the time and space for your teenager to share what it is they are going through. At the same time, be patient with yourself and make sure that you have your own support system if you’re also feeling challenged! At The Flourish Journey, all of our facilitators work in teams so that we can support each other through any challenges and debrief appropriately when necessary.

We recommend that all parents regularly remind their teenagers that there is always an opportunity to share, even when it feels like they’re not listening. Regardless of whether your teenager takes up this offer on the first or 100th time, reminding young people that you are there for them is crucial in encouraging open communication.