Anxiety in teens is more common than you would have thought. One in every 8 children suffers from some form of anxiety, and that’s just in the United States. As tumultuous and difficult as anxiety disorders are for adults, they are considerably tougher for young children and teenagers who are already struggling with emotional and physical changes.
Dealing with an anxious teen and effectively comforting them in order to alleviate their anxiety is something that most parents have difficulty with on a regular basis. However, there are a number of ways in which parents, counselors, and mentors can help calm an anxious teen. They include:
The first step towards helping an anxious teen is providing them with the reassurance that everything is alright. Anxiety is essentially a storm of unnecessary worrying thoughts that bring a teen’s fears to life. While verbal reassurance is necessary, in order to effectively reassure an anxious teen you have to use your actions together with your words. Make the effort to practice deep breathing with your child so that they physically calm down, and then provide the verbal reassurance necessary.
Once you have managed to successfully reassure your child that they are in a safe environment, encourage and gently coax them to discuss the problems that plague them. Resist the urge to lecture, coach, and teach- rather persuade them to talk about their fears by withholding judgment. Be persistent in your willingness and availability to listen and do exactly that- focus on the listening instead of you talking.
When a teen shows willingness to open up and discuss the issues that worry them – and it can take a considerable amount to time for them to do so, take the opportunity to inform and teach them about anxiety. It’s important for a teenager to know that the thing which seemingly alienates them is in fact, quite common, and normal even. It is not harmful, nor is it dangerous to their well-being. Rather anxiety helps teens prepare their mind and body for the possibility of real threat. When we let our bodies react as it would when threatened in the absence of any real plausible danger, that’s when things get troublesome – and that’s what needs to be taught to an anxious teen to help them overcome their anxiety.