5 Ways to Help an Anxious Teen
There are many strategies that can help an anxious teenager feel better. Everyone is different, so it may take some trial and error and communication to find effective solutions. Take a look at the list below for ideas about where to start.
Anxiety is very common in preteens and teenagers. It can be difficult for them to navigate the new experiences that come with this stage of development: puberty, increased independence, changing social dynamics, new friendships and relationships. On top of academic and social pressures, many teenagers are also working jobs and juggling multiple extra curricular schedules.
Feeling nervous, anxious, or stressed is a normal part of the experience of adolescence. It is important to let your child know that it’s okay that they are feeling overwhelmed, and that it won’t last forever. For those who experience anxiety on a regular basis, it can be helpful to introduce structure and habits that can help them manage and overcome their symptoms.
Make A Plan
New experiences can cause people to experience a lot of anxiety. Structure and stability can often be the antidote to these worrisome feelings. If your child is worried about an upcoming test, creating a schedule to study so they feel well prepared can take some pressure off. If they are worried about an upcoming social event, going over the “game plan” for the event can help them voice their concerns and give you an opportunity to offer helpful solutions.
Schedule Down Time
For teens that are always on the go, it is essential for them to have time to themselves to unwind, relax, and enjoy being a teenager. It can be helpful to schedule times in the week (like a weekend night) where the agenda is: nothing! Spending time with friends or enjoying some quiet down time without a screen helps give their minds and bodies time to unwind and will help them better manage the challenges ahead.
Talk About Realistic Expectations
If your child struggles with the pressures of achieving perfection, in academics or other activities, the pressure they are putting on themselves is a likely cause of their anxiety. It’s important to talk about expectations for school, sports, or other activities with your child to help them feel more at ease and supported. It’s common for teenagers to feel pressure from parents or other family members to achieve perfection, and they often have trouble communicating that for fear of letting others down.
Help Them Find Calm
Using grounding techniques like deep breathing, exercising, or journalling can help during an anxious episode. Read through this list of techniques to find two or three that your child finds useful. When they start to feel anxious or stressed, remind them to use their techniques. You can even do them together, for extra support!
Seek Extra Help
If someone is experiencing prolonged symptoms of anxiety and are struggling to manage on their own, they should speak to a therapist who can help them talk through their anxieties and develop strategies that will help them cope.
Is your child struggling with symptoms of anxiety and looking for someone to talk to? Fill out our contact form to book a free 15-minute consultation.