The teen years bring about various challenges for adolescents. As a parent, you may be concerned about your teen’s mental and physical well-being. Mood and hormonal changes can create the perfect storm for depression or anxiety to develop. The following information will teach parents and loved ones how to help a teen with anxiety.
Challenges During the Teen Years
Adolescents go through many developmental changes to prepare them for adulthood. In addition to the hormonal changes during this stage of development, teens have a strong desire for acceptance and approval from others. Stressful events surrounding friendships, work, and school can create issues with anxiety.
How to Help a Teen with Anxiety
As a parent, trying to fix any problems your children face is only natural. After all, you want them to have the tools necessary to become successful adults. The following tips can help you provide support for a teen dealing with anxiety.
Keep Communication Flowing Freely
Your teen may feel embarrassed or afraid to talk to you about personal matters. This can become an issue if you appear to get upset about these issues easily. Try to remain calm when discussing personal matters with your teen—express empathy and understanding for their feelings and emotions.
Help Your Teen Face Fears
Avoiding fears doesn’t help a person learn how to deal with them. While anxiety is a part of life for all of us, it shouldn’t interfere with our daily functioning. As much as possible, help your teens recognize and face the things they’re afraid of.
Consider a Professional Counsellor
In some cases, anxiety can become so severe that your teen needs professional help. Professional counsellors have access to many tools and techniques that can help teens come face-to-face with their challenges. In doing so, they can learn to triumph over them.
Handling Anxiety Attacks
It can feel like you are unable to help your teen at all when they are in the throes of anxiety, and it can easily become overwhelming for all involved, contributing to the overall anxiety level. Anxiety attacks usually manifest as an uncontrollable outburst of worry or panic, brought on by an impending sense of danger that your teen may or may not be able to articulate the cause of. They don’t know what’s wrong, only that something is, and the body’s response is panic. This may also be accompanied by a racing heartbeat, hyperventilation, sweating, trembling, nausea or stomach issues, and insomnia.
There are many ways to manage or soothe an anxiety attack, but avoiding triggers entirely when possible is one of the best. Unfortunately, we can’t always do that, so talking to your teen is vital. If your teen’s anxiety seems to be worse in the morning before school, maybe there is an issue at school. If their anxiety is worse around socializing, maybe there is an issue in the friend group. Sometimes health anxiety becomes an issue as they grow into themselves and their bodies change; creating a safe space for your teen to confide in you is essential to understanding what they’re going through and helping them to see that anxiety can be managed. Some other helpful methods of managing anxiety attacks include:
- Meditation, breathing exercises, or light exercises like yoga or walking
- Don’t underestimate the power of a good, healthy distraction like a movie or hobby
- Have a healthy snack that supports brain health and cut down on sugars
- Try a weighted blanket or fidget/stimulation toy
- Encourage time spent among supportive friends and family
- Practice regular self-care routines
However, if you notice your teen’s anxiety is so severe that it is negatively impacting their ability to function normally in their daily life, it is important to seek professional help.
When to Seek Professional Help
When considering how to help a teen with anxiety, it’s important to recognize when they need professional help. If anxiety interferes with your teen’s life on an ongoing basis, they will likely benefit from outside resources. If your child is unable to maintain normal daily functions, it’s time to seek professional intervention. Your teen will learn tools for managing their anxiety and stress and life skills in anxiety-focused therapy that will help them throughout the rest of their life.
Choosing a Teen Treatment Center that Aligns with Your Goals
When discussing how to help a teen with anxiety, you’ll also want to know how to choose the right treatment facility. In general, it makes sense to pick a treatment center that has an excellent track record. As a caring parent or family member, it also helps to choose a facility that promotes heavy family involvement.
Venture Academy is a behaviour treatment center with multiple locations throughout Canada. After implementing an in-depth client assessment on each individual, Venture Academy can create a treatment plan that meets everyone’s unique needs.
Don’t let addiction or behavioural issues control your teen’s life. Call Venture Academy today at 866.762.2211 to discover how we can help your family heal through comprehensive troubled teen programs.