Many teens deal with anxiety. For people of all ages, experiencing mild anxiety from time to time is simply part of life. We all worry about things going on in our lives, but with healthy coping skills, we can manage these worries so that they don’t interfere with our relationships, routines, and goals.
But for teens, every anxiety-inducing event can seem like the end of the world. As a parent, it can be frustrating from your point of view, yet it’s important to keep in mind that you’ve experienced far more in life than your teen has.
For teens, anxiety can be so hard to deal with because it’s tough for them to see when something will truly matter in the future, and when something truly isn’t worth stressing out over. Here’s how to help your teen manage their anxiety and move forward in life.
1. Put Things in Perspective
It’s important not to minimize what your teen is going through. For a high school student, getting their first college rejection letter, reeling from their first heartache, or ending a good friendship can feel like an incident that they will never recover from.
They simply don’t have enough life experience to understand that these events will not necessarily matter in the long run. However, these formative experiences do hurt, and you’ll need to be patient with your teen.
Sometimes, sharing stories of your own teen years and the challenges that you overcame can help your child see their own problems in a new light. They might realize that it’s possible to move past these events and find better things on the other side. You can be their sounding board when they need someone to vent to.
2. Suggest Limits on Screen Time
Maybe your teen isn’t necessarily dealing with anxiety because of events in their life. Perhaps their anxiety is rooted in comparisons to other people’s lives. If your teen is spending hours every day on social media, they might be focusing on the highlight reels of their peers’ lives.
They see endless posts advertising all the best aspects of life as an influencer, and meanwhile, they compare this edited, curated content to all the problems going on in their own lives.
While it isn’t easy to set screen time limits for teens, you can take steps to reduce your teen’s screen time. For example, you might want to implement certain rules for the whole family, like not using phones at dinner.
3. Encourage Healthy Habits
Your teen’s physical health and mental health are inextricably intertwined. It can be hard for teens to stick with healthy habits, even if they do play sports, just because they have so much on their plates.
Check in with your teen to see if they’re sleeping well, eating right, and getting some exercise into their routine. A good diet, plenty of sleep, and physical activity can all help to counteract anxiety.
4. Support Your Teen’s Hobbies
Your teen needs a healthy outlet where they can process their emotions. This might mean writing in a journal, playing an instrument, painting or drawing, dancing, or another creative pursuit. Some teens also find solace in sports that are not traditionally offered by their schools, such as hiking or mountain biking.
Encourage your teen to step outside the box and find something that makes them tick. When they get into the zone with a hobby they love, their anxiety can melt away for a time.
Is your teen struggling with anxiety? They might benefit from working with a therapist. Reach out to us today to discuss your options for scheduling your teen’s first session.