Parenting A Teen With Anxiety

A teenager feeling anxious is typically a natural reaction to the challenges and changes that they are facing during adolescence.

Parenting A Teen With Anxiety

That does not necessarily have to be a bad thing yet there are ways that you can help and parent your teen.

In some cases, you may want to let your teenager find their own way yet if you can identify instances where anxiety creeps in then you can step in.

Spending time together, encouraging healthy choices, and helping them feel safe and secure can all help.

In this article, we will look at how to identify anxiety and the ways you can parent a teen with anxiety.

How To Identify Anxiety In A Teenager

Parenting A Teen With Anxiety

While a teenager’s brain is changing, adolescence throws up its own challenges. From physical and social changes to emotional changes too.

It can be a testing time as teenagers are simultaneously also seeking increased independence and the new experiences in life that an increased age tends to offer. 

There may be occasions when you can anticipate that your teenager will be expected to feel anxious.

The week before your teenager starts secondary school can be one such time which signals huge change.

Teenagers have to ensure that their clothes are right for making a good first impression and after that first week, it may become clear if they are settling in ok or if anxiety is building before each day.

If your teenager seems withdrawn or overly nervous while at home or on the way to school then this could be a sign that they are suffering from anxiety.

Also, a teenager that spends a lot of time in their room and fails to be social at the weekend can be another sign of anxiety.

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Should you notice that their behavior changes in that they fail to enjoy activities that they usually do then they could be suffering from anxiety.  

Spend Time Together

Parenting A Teen With Anxiety

Once you believe that you have identified that your teenager is suffering from anxiety then there are some simple actions you can take.

The first is simply to spend time together and ask them to open up.

Anxiety does not necessarily have to be a negative thing as it can help a teenager focus on the situations they are facing and even motivate them to try harder.

This is especially the case before an event that may be stressful such as a sporting meet or public speaking event. 

If you know that such an event is coming up, take the time to ask them how they feel about it then listen to any of their concerns.

Showing understanding and compassion when a teenager is facing anxiety can help them feel better.

There may also be simple solutions that you can put in place to make them more at ease and reduce any anxiety.

Demonstrating that you can acknowledge your teenager’s feelings can improve their confidence that they can get past the anxiety and handle whatever situation they are facing.

Help Them Feel Safe And Secure

Parenting A Teen With Anxiety

One way to combat a teenager’s anxiety is to help them to feel safe and secure so they can cope better.

If a teenager is suffering from anxiety then let them know that whatever happens, they are not alone in facing it.

Make plans when both of you are free to set up a reward after a particularly stressful situation such as having dinner as a family or going out to a bowling alley. 

Routine also helps teenagers deal with anxiety, especially during a period of upheaval that they believe they are facing.

Set up a plan for during the week and at weekends which involves regular meal times, time spent outdoors, and occasions where you do things together.

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If the teenager knows that there are certain things to look forward to then this may reduce their anxiety as they feel more secure. 

Encouraging Healthy Choices

Parenting A Teen With Anxiety

Good, healthy choices can help a teenager combat their anxiety.

Giving them the time and space to make those choices themselves is a plus point yet you should direct them to certain ones.

For instance, take them out for a walk to help clear their head away from their phone or schoolwork.

Should your teenager realize that the walk did them good then they should anticipate that a walk on their own would also help with their anxiety.

Similarly, lots of physical activity, a good night’s sleep, and healthy meals with plenty of water are choices that you can outline for your teenager.

Set a good example and avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol to show your teenager what is a healthy choice to make.

Another way of setting a good example for your teenager to follow is to not be late and let them down.

You can also try to teach your teenager some mindfulness exercises and breathing exercises that they can do when they are feeling anxious. 

Final Thoughts

There is no exact science to parenting a teenager with anxiety yet it may be a case of finding out what works.

Encouraging healthy choices to taking the time to make them feel more safe and secure are just two ways that can help.

Just spending time together can give your teenager the confidence that they can combat their anxiety as their parents have their back.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Telltale Signs Of Anxiety For A Teenager?

If your teenager seems irritable, withdrawn, or continually avoids tricky or new situations then they could be suffering from anxiety.

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More physical signs include complaints about headaches or trouble focusing. A sense of recurring fear or self-consciousness can also indicate anxiety. 

What Are The Main Causes Of Anxiety In Teenagers?

Aside from hormonal and brain development, there are various causes of anxiety in teenagers.

If high expectations are set then this stress can cause anxiety as well as disapproval from parents.

Peer pressure, depression, and alcohol can also cause anxiety too.

Suzy Prichard
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