Anxiety is a mental condition that can affect children and teens. As a parent, you’ll want to help them cope with it. This guide will go over the ten things you should try in order to make it a positive experience for both of you.
If you need more information on mental disorders and how you can help your child get through them, check out BasePoint Academy. You can visit their website at basepointacademy.com. Let’s start this list with things parents should try with their teens who have anxiety.
Make communication a priority
One of the biggest things about dealing with a teen’s anxiety is communication. You should ask them about their worries and how they are feeling. It’s important to listen to what they have to say.
It may be easy to tell them to not think about the problem or to not worry. The issue with this is that it will hurt them more than help. The lack of support and validating their feelings is prevalent in this regard.
Instead, let them know that it’s normal for them to be scared of things. You can let them know that if they are feeling that way, let them know that you will be there to help them if needed.
Express compassion for them
One of the best ways to deal with your teen’s anxiety is to show compassion for them. You can do your best to understand what they might be going through. Empathy will help them trust you more and help them become more comfortable in talking to you about what may be going on with them.
It’s also important to let them know that anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of. Let them know that you understand about the things that make them anxious.
Fight anxiety together
One of the best strategies is to make fighting anxiety a team effort. No one should have to go at this alone all the time. You and your teen can work together to make anxiety more manageable.
At the same time, it’s important that you allow your teen to give them their own space so they can manage their anxiety on their own. Sure, it can be a team effort but sometimes they need to cope with it in their own way (albeit in a healthy approach).
Be as supportive as possible
This can’t be simple enough. Being supportive of your teen’s anxiety should be something you need to do. Once again, this can be as easy as listening and being empathetic.
Of course, talking about issues bothering your teen such as a certain type of anxiety can also help. Talk about how they were feeling during a certain situation. Reassure them that things will be fine and dealing with such fears is normal.
If anything, being supportive of your teen will make dealing with their anxiety a lot easier. The last thing you want to do is do nothing and let the situation get worse. Being controlling doesn’t help either.
Help your teen build coping skills
There may be events that can trigger a teen’s anxiety. It’s important to know what they are and help them build coping skills should something arise. It helps to give them positive feedback as well.
Positive feedback will give your teen the confidence to cope and manage their anxiety. Meanwhile, set goals that are small and easy to achieve. Reinforce positive feedback once they achieve said goal.
Let them know that they are building resilience and have a better chance of facing their fears. If they fail at meeting a goal, let them know that it’s a learning experience instead of a ‘permanent loss’. Let them know that things can change to where a better outcome will result.
Help them relax with mindfulness techniques
This is a holistic approach to handling anxiety. It can be as simple as deep breathing exercises. You and your teen can do this together.
This can be done five minutes each day where you close your eyes, breathe in through your nose, and out the mouth. It’s also important to make sure that your breath is the main focus of the exercise. If there are any thoughts that pop up, just acknowledge them for a second and continue to focus on the breath itself.
Make sure they get a good night’s rest
Anxiety can be a problem to the point where trouble sleeping is a common thing. So it may be a good idea to help your teen set up a sleep schedule. This includes avoiding caffeine hours before the scheduled bedtime.
It may also help to come up with a time for your teen to stop using electronics. Because of the blue light it emits, it can also reduce the amount of natural melatonin. Your teen should stop using electronics at least one to two hours prior to the scheduled bedtime.
Make social media use healthy
Social media use can help a person with their anxiety. However, there are also harmful effects as well. This means you should encourage your teen to make social media a tool for communicating with friends.
Make it less of a priority about the number of likes they would get on a post. Also, when it comes time to put it away, make sure they follow the rule. It may be a good idea to remind your teen that most pictures they see on social media are not accurate representations of reality (such as pictures of friends at parties).
A person may have a good time in a photo. But no one knows for sure what goes on behind the scenes.
Prepare for difficult situations
Difficult situations will arise and anxiety may be at an all-time high. Keep in mind that the best way to handle this will be using some of the measures we’ve mentioned such as communication. At this point, they may worry about not achieving the goal they want (such as fear of failure resulting in not graduating from school).
It’s important to help them prepare for what may be big events in their life. You can do your best to prepare ahead and lessen your teen’s anxiety. The more you are aware of big events coming up for your teen, the better.
Seek professional help, if possible
If the strategies are not improving your teen’s anxiety, professional help may be possible. This can be done via therapy or even medication. The reality is anxiety can be severe to the point where simple measures may not be enough.
Be sure to monitor your teen’s progress including how they are handling anxiety. If things seem to take a turn for the worse, a professional will be able to come up with a solution.