I know the Best Ways To Help Your Tween or Teen Get Through Anxiety

Anxiety in teens and tweens

“I know the Best Ways To Help Your Tween or Teen Get Through Anxiety”, is a contribution written by a guest named Noah Smith. Noah told me “I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in my teens, and I know how scary and lonely dealing with anxiety can be for young people”. I knew I should share this with you all as nowadays, children between 10 and 18  seem to be under a great deal of stress to perform academically and in extra curricular activities. In addition some parents caught in the trap of failed personal relationships go through mood swings which play havoc with the child’s sense of self and sense of peace. This is Noah’s advice to all parents.

Childhood Anxiety

Childhood anxiety affects millions of families every year, and many parents are at a loss as to how to help their loved ones. It’s never easy to know the right way to proceed when anxiety and stress pop up, and while it’s true that it affects everyone differently, there are also many different ways to cope with it. Learning coping methods and figuring out how to handle those emotions is important, both for you and your child.

There are many causes and symptoms where anxiety is involved. These include social and school pressures, moving to a new town, relationship issues, etc., and there is no one right answer for an individual. For the estimated 1 in 5 children in the USA who suffer from social anxiety, separation anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, each new day can be a challenge because no amount of assurance can change the way they feel. As Dr. Tamar Chansky puts it, “No matter how much you answer an anxious child’s questions or tell her things are fine, she can’t absorb your reassurances”.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help your child learn to handle his/her anxious feelings and keep them from being overwhelming. Here are some of the best ways caregivers and parents can do just that.

Get educated

One of the most important ways you can help your child cope with anxiety is is to focus on your own knowledge. Get educated on what their specific needs are. Some children have separation anxiety, while others have trouble being around people they don’t know well. These are two different expressions of anxiety and each type requires a different approach as far as coping goes. So please, talk to your child to find out what the root of their worries is. It may be helpful to seek the guidance of a counselor or therapist at this time if communication is a challenge.

Stay calm

It can be frustrating, scary, or overwhelming to watch your child battle anxiety, especially if they don’t understand the feelings rushing through them and can’t vocalize them. Try to stay patient and understand that it takes time to delve into the causes of anxiety. Calmly let your child know that you’re there to help and support them during this time.

Teach your child self-care

Learning how to take care of themselves is a valuable lesson, and it can really help kids and teens who experience anxiety on a daily basis. Self-care can be anything from getting enough sleep at night to finding healthy ways to express their feelings. So encourage some experimenting to see what works best. Various creative endeavors like painting, singing, dancing, writing, and cooking, are excellent ways to help ease stress and anxiety and work through confusing and frustrating feelings in a positive way.

It’s also important just to take care of our bodies. Make sure your child knows the importance of eating a well-balanced meal and how to get in daily exercise. This can be something the entire family does together. Making it fun, like getting into a sport or involving the family pet is a great bonus.

Boost her/his self-confidence

Sometimes kids need a little confidence boost, so help him find his own inner strength. Good activities include joining a sport that you also know something about or wish you  knew something about. Or encourage them to take on a leadership position at school or in Girl Guides or Boy Scouts. As they experience a rise in self-confidence you will see your child trying out more and more ways to battle anxiety on his or her own.

Don’t avoid triggers

This is very difficult to deal with. Most experts agree that it’s best NOT to avoid events or places that trigger anxiety. It may seem helpful in the present, but in the long run it’s best to face our fears head-on. Let your child know that you’ll be there with him and for him and that you’re positive he has the strength to tackle those negative feelings when they show up.

Remember, anxiety isn’t something we can control at first. It takes time to learn ways to cope with and manage it, and for kids, the experience is a little more difficult. Enlist the help of family members, teachers, and counselors so that everyone is on the same page and talk to your child about what his fears are.

Having read Noah’s thoughtful contribution I want to add a note to all parents .

Take a look at yourself

In some instances we parents are the ones contributing to the child’s anxiety. Give yourself a chance. Like I mention in my book for Moms, “Rockstar Mom: 7 Ways To Be The Greatest Mom Ever”, sleep is critical for sustaining peaceful relationships in the home. Your sleep patterns need to be regular and restful. Both you and your children need to get enough sleep every night.

 

 

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Author, retired professor, researcher, loving children, loving life.

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