It’s becoming increasingly common for teens to show symptoms of anxiety. Though all teenagers will go through some anxious moments, many teens develop anxiety disorders that affect their day-to-day lives. According to the CDC, approximately 5.8 million children between the ages of 3 and 17 will be diagnosed with anxiety at some point during their childhood.
If you are the parent of an anxious teen, there are some things that you can do at home to connect with them and help them cope with their anxiety symptoms. Many teens see success in managing their anxiety symptoms when they have parental support and get to practice new coping skills without judgment.
Some teens, however, still have a tough time learning to manage their anxiety symptoms at home. For teens who need additional support, you can look into local therapeutic options and anxiety treatment centers. The most important thing is finding solutions that will work for your child.
Teen Anxiety Symptoms
Before trying to connect with your anxious teen, it’s important for you to understand their symptoms. Teen anxiety disorders can negatively impact every aspect of their life. From home to school to social interactions, chronic anxiety can make every situation much more difficult than it should be.
Some common symptoms of teen anxiety include:
Worrying about the future
Worrying about social interactions
Having trouble concentrating
Having panic attacks
Having trouble sleeping
Being overly afraid in a given situation
Avoiding social interactions
Avoiding new activities, places, or people
Using drugs or alcohol to manage their emotions
8 Tips To Connect With Your Anxious Teen
When connecting with your anxious teen, you might have to try a few different strategies before finding what works. Keep in mind, that some of these strategies might work better in specific situations. Try a few things and see what works best for your teen.
1. Normalize discussions about mental health. Teens don’t always feel comfortable talking about their mental health troubles. You might need to start the conversation by bringing up mental health more in general. When conversations about mental health become normal, they’re a lot less intimidating.
2. Listen and respond without judgment. When your child opens up to you about how they’re feeling, listen and respond without judgment. They already know that they’re more worried than they should be and overthinking things. They don’t need you to tell them that as well. Let them tell you how they’re feeling and acknowledge how hard it must be for them.
3. Help them make connections. Teens with anxiety can struggle to make social connections. They worry about social interactions and how things might go, so they would instead just stick with what they know. Help your teen make new connections and prepare them for how they can respond to the scenarios that concern them.
4. Encourage bold action. For teens with anxiety, simple steps can seem scary. They need to be proactive and face their fears to get through life and develop relationships. Notice and encourage their bold actions.
5. Help them create a routine. Having a pattern takes some of the guesswork out of life. They won’t be able to do the same thing every day, but you can help them learn to structure their days. Start by creating a family routine at home and branch out from there.
6. Encourage healthy living. Living a healthy lifestyle won’t erase their anxiety, but it can minimize it. We all feel extra stressed out and worried when we’re tired and have been eating too much junk. By sleeping well, eating well, and getting some exercise, your teen increases their chances of feeling calmer.
7. Participate in activities that they like. You might have more success connecting with your anxious teen when you participate in activities they enjoy. They won’t have to worry about trying something new, so they’re more likely to stay present and interact with you.
8. Let them practice coping techniques around you. Coping with teen anxiety symptoms can be tough. They might want to try some coping methods that they’ve found online or learned through therapy, but they might be nervous about it. Let them try out their new techniques around you so that they don’t have to worry about whether it’s successful or not.
Unfortunately, anxiety and depression go hand in hand for many people. Having an untreated anxiety disorder makes it much more likely that teenagers will develop depression later in their teen or adult years. If you notice the signs and symptoms of anxiety in your teenage son, you must address it immediately.
If you’re struggling to connect with your anxious teen or teach them how to cope with their anxiety, get professional help. Your son’s doctor should be able to provide you with some treatment options. Some teens need the help of prescription medications to overcome their anxiety symptoms, but many see improvement through talk therapy.
Contact us today for more information about treatment options for anxious teen boys.