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My teenager won’t leave their bedroom

Get them up, get them moving, get them talking and celebrate the wins

Do you have a teen who won’t leave their bedroom? Hear from Dr Rachael Sharman, Psychology Educator on the little things you can do as a parent to help your teen. Get them up, get them moving, get them talking and celebrate the wins.


Rachael: If you’ve got a really withdrawn and disengaged teen; start small. Start really small and keep your expectations low. So one of the male psychologists in this region who actually deals with flat disengaged teens; the first thing he does is he goes to their house and he says “Mate, let’s go for a walk around your neighbourhood”. This is actually a bit of a genius move. It gets them out of that space. It gets them out of that withdrawn space. It gets them up and moving. It gets the blood flow going to the brain and they just have a little bit of a chat. What’s in your neighbourhood? What’s going on? What’s going on with you? And again, no sort of intervention. His first goal is just to get them out of bed and moving and preferably talking. So that’s where you should be aiming for your very first goal.

If you can’t do it, do you have a brother? Do they have an uncle that they love? Is there a family friend? Again is there a trusted teacher? Or a footy coach or someone who can just get them up and moving and talking. That should be your first goal. Don’t aim to suddenly have this, you know, magic, wonderful warm parent-child relationship within a week. That’s not going to happen. It’s going to be a series of very small steps. Most people will edge out of that in a matter of months. I know that sounds terrible for a lot of people and that’s too long. But if they’re really, really trapped in a very bad space mentally, we are going to be looking at a period of months to get them out of that; not a period of days and weeks.

So you’re going to have to be awfully patient and it’s going to be a lot of very, very, small little steps and increments along the way. Again if you’re really struggling of course you’re going to have to get help from your doctor or your psychologist to come and help you out. If you really can’t get them moving. But get them up. Get them moving. Get them talking and again celebrate those little snippets of time where they do go out with you or they do come along to the family barbecue or they do go along to the movies with you or what have you. And celebrate that for what it is because it’s a big win and it’s moving them in the right direction.


VO: You can discover more on the Spark Their Future website.

Last Updated: 08 December 2022