Andrew Taylor of Octagon Mentoring was in studio with tips for parenting teens and young adults. Andrew has been working with young people in the outdoors for over 15 yearsHe founded and runs Pure Life Adventure, an Adventure Therapy program in Costa Rica which helps young adults dealing with anxiety and depression, and additionally he has recently launched a program called Octagon Mentoring which helps teens and young adults nationwide develop life skills.

He tells us that running these two programs there are certainly some common themes he see with adolescents and emerging adults. Depression and anxiety are on the rise. There is a strong correlation between this and technology use. Parents are not prepared to manage technology for their children, no fault of their own, and young people are even less prepared. Couple that with a global pandemic, and less face to face time, and we have a real concern to address right now.  Throughout the groups he has worked with, his biggest concerns are high levels of stress, not enough sleep and overall teens and young adults are developing more slowly.

Andrew goes on to say that because of the internet, teens are relying on their parents less and less.  While independence and individuation can be healthy, it means parents have less of a say in mentoring their own children.

Some things parents can do:
a. Parents need to do their own homework on the topics their children are struggling with and show up prepared to talk to their kids in a real, and vulnerable way. Constant communication truly is imperative in building a trusting relationship.
b. Seek outside help before problems arise. Often parents wait until their kids are in crisis mode to reach out for help. What Andrew has learned is that we can prevent a lot of anxiety and depression by bringing in outside help before problems get out of control. Mentoring. Your child does not need to be in crisis mode to benefit from working with a mentor.
c. Get your family outdoors. Get off the couch, get off technology as much as possible and get outside into nature.  Nature is the best natural stress reliever we have.

Leonardo DaVinci said if you stand in an Octagon of mirrors you can see all sides of yourself. In Andrew’s program, each side of the octagon represents a side of ourselves such as mind, body, purpose, relationships, and so forth. His goal is to support parents in teaching these emerging adults the life skills they need to be successful and navigate life, especially when it gets heavy.

For more information on this topic Andrew has a blog post on his website

Deena Manzanares
Deena Marie Manzanares is a Utah native, but lived in NYC for a few years while attending the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School. Locally, she has worked as a professional actor for years in both stage and film.