Anxiety is common among teenagers and it is a typical part of a child’s development. Among changing circumstances, such as new schools and friendship groups, as well as developing minds that search for independence and identity, it is easy to sympathise with their feelings of worry. It is also important to note that how each teenager deals with anxiety is ultimately different. Individual reactions may range from a sense of nervousness all the way to gripping stress, potentially leading to severe mental and physical effects.
During these years, it is paramount that they receive support from their parent or guardian. While it can be difficult to understand the details of their situation, their feelings should not be dismissed and there are certain actions that can make a significant difference to your child’s wellbeing.
Honest and non-judgmental communication between an adult and a teenager is at the core of their better development. For many teens, the emotions and feelings they are experiencing are entirely new and uncertain, which is why guidance is needed. No matter how difficult or uncomfortable the topic might be, particularly those to do with bodies, you have the ability to dispel much of their concern, or to alleviate it, with a simple conversation.
Teenagers may often feel isolated or alienated from their peers and environment. Even if they choose not to use it, establishing an open environment, one where they are able to voice their concerns, gives them a safe and welcoming space to visit should they need to. This location does not necessarily need to be within the home and can be a neutral space, such as a cafe or a relative’s house too.
For a teenager, their experience is entirely new and, while they may feel confident in their understanding of an emotion or action, they can misjudge important feelings as well as how to deal with them. When spending time with your child, help them to identify their feelings, especially their experiences of anxiety. This will support their independence and allow them to better manage their own mind in future. Some children find it helpful to write down their concerns when becoming worried, such as within a diary, helping to dissipate a surge of emotion.
Anxiety can also feel endless for a teenager, with no end in sight. Reassure your child that difficult times and feelings of worry will eventually pass.
Even outside of conversation, interacting and spending time with your child can deter and distract from their feelings of anxiety. Find activities that can be done together while being conscious of their own need for space and privacy. Physical and outdoor activities are especially effective at increasing confidence and wellbeing too, helping to reduce levels of stress and improve physical health.
Maintaining closeness is also recommended with such gestures like hugging, working to bridge gaps and form a positive, physical connection within your relationship.
Even without realising it, a teenager will take guidance from the adults in their life when dealing with situations, which is why it is important for you to demonstrate a level-headed approach to dealing with problems. For example, if your teenager expresses concerns over a certain event, talk them through the outcomes and show them how best to deal with the situation without feeling worried.
If your teenager shows signs of severe anxiety, such as a panic attack, or examples that their worries are not going away, then they may need professional support. See here for teen counselling in Bristol.
I offer anxiety counselling in Bristol that can support your child through cases of anxiety. For an initial consultation, where we can discuss your needs, as well as identify if we are an appropriate fit for one another, please call me on 07751271709 or, alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.