Knowing How To Help Teens With Anxiety is important for their health and wellbeing as a parent, teacher, caregiver, or friend.
How To Help Teens With Anxiety
Many of us have dealt with anxiety at one point or another in our life.
Teens and kids too are struggling with anxiety because of how much faster our world is moving now.
The stress of everyday life, coupled with poor coping skills, can contribute to the likelihood that a teen may have difficulty managing their fears.
As a parent, you may be wondering what are some of the ways you can ease your teen or child’s burden.
I believe that the most important step is knowing what anxiety is, what it looks like, and things that could cause anxiety in our kids.
I am not a doctor by any means, but as a parent, I believe that these are things that we need to learn and become aware of.
Especially since we live in such a busy and fast-paced life.
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What Is Anxiety
Anxiety is the feeling of worry and nervousness when a situation is uncertain. Allowing fear to take over.
When we allow anxiety to take over our feelings, emotions, and our process to think is when it can become a hinder in life.
What Causes Anxiety In Teenagers
We live in such a fast-paced world that anxiety in teens can be caused by many different factors.
Starting with the pressures of school and friends.
Remember what it was like to be a teen? All the decisions to be made, tests to study for, changing hormones, and peer pressure.
These are just some of the causes of anxiety in teens now.
Recognizing Symptoms Of Anxiety In Teens
As parents, we need to be able to recognize when our child is having symptoms of anxiety and how to help them.
Here are just a few symptoms to look for in teen anxiety:
- Emotional changes
- Avoiding social interactions and wanting to be alone
- Stomach problems
- Change in eating habits
- Not sleeping or being able to stay asleep
- Change in school grades dropping
- Not getting school work completed
As parents, we know our children and we notice when something is not right.
Follow your instincts and I hope that some of these tips help guide you on helping your child cope with anxiety in a healthy way.
No matter how old we get, the structure is something that can ground us and provide a bit of control throughout our days.
This is no different for kids and teenagers.
Where possible, try to adhere to similar schedules and activities from day-to-day.
Unanticipated changes in routine can cause stress and uncertainty for kids with anxiety issues.
They usually feel more comfortable with predictability and knowing what to expect.
When changes need to occur, give plenty of warning and explain exactly what will happen.
Also make sure that rules and expectations are clear as well, as ambiguity can increase stress levels.
Set a Good Example
This can be more difficult than it sounds, especially if as a parent you suffer from anxiety yourself.
It’s no easy task, but if you too are working on your anxiety, then there’s no better person to set a good example than yourself.
If you model fear and anxiety in response to challenges, kids will pick up on it.
Make sure kids see you reacting calmly to situations and using good problem-solving skills.
You can even “talk your way” through problems to help kids understand the self-talk that is such a crucial part of handling a crisis and setbacks.
Encourage Healthy Behaviors
Once again, this goes back to modeling good behavior. Taking care of our health is a big factor when anxiety is involved.
Getting enough sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition is key to feeling one’s best and can truly help your teen cope with anxiety.
For kids who suffer from anxiety, these factors are even more crucial to keep them healthy and energized.
Make sure that you are talking to a dietician or pediatrician about what your child is eating.
Creating healthy balanced meals while watching carbs and sugar intake can make a huge difference for a teen who is feeling anxious.
Resources On Anxiety And Teens
Listen to Their Feelings
Resist the temptation to dismiss their fears as trivial, no matter what they are.
This will only cause them to feel that you don’t hear them, and will likely block any further communication with you.
Instead, invite sharing by supporting and validating their experiences by truly listening to what they have to say.
Schedule one-on-one time together to go for ice cream, dinner, or even an afternoon walk together.
This will allow your teen to open up communication with you and know that you are always there for them without judgment.
Encourage Positive Thinking
Kids with anxieties often psych themselves out before they even get started.
Instead, encourage them to use positive self-talk to counter the negative “I can’t” thoughts in their head.
Since believing you can do something needs to come before actually doing it, this is the first step in helping kids overcome their fears.
I’ve even created a free printable with positive affirmations for teens.
Make sure to head on over and print out for your teen to display in a visible area to remind them to think positively.
Teaching basic relaxation techniques to use when stress levels get high can help teens with anxiety
Deep breathing, counting slowly from one to ten, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization is all simple ways to calm anxieties down when they get out of hand.
Plus, don’t ever think that kids or teens are too young to practicing yoga or meditating.
In fact, the younger they begin to be able to quiet their minds, the faster they are able to take ahold of their anxiety.
Don’t expect huge changes all at once. Success will come in slow, steady increments.
Have your teens outline their fears, and rank order them from least to most anxiety-provoking.
Attack lower-stress situations first, and use the confidence that comes with success to tackle bigger issues.
Just remind them that no matter what you will be with them every step of the way.
Let them know that they can count you.
Know When to Get Help
If your teenager’s anxieties are interfering with their everyday life, they are getting worse, or are causing extreme distress to discuss your concerns with your child’s doctor.
A referral to a psychologist, therapist, or neurofeedback treatment may be something you want to look into.
The important thing is to make sure to get appropriate help for them and know when to help your teen with anxiety
Journals For Teens
Journaling is one of the things that I encourage both of my tweens to do daily.
It’s a great way for them to get their feelings, emotions, and thoughts down on paper.
More Parenting Resources
Has your teen ever had anxiety?