It breaks your heart to see your teen so anxious. They seem easily stressed out and struggle when something triggers them.
If you’re like most parents, you want to help them to better cope with their anxiety so they can reach their full potential, which you know they’re capable of.
But you want to do it the right way. You’ve heard stories about parents who fumbled when it came to their teen and anxiety.
You don’t want to end up like them. But it’s so hard to know what’s going to work or be a total flop.
If this sounds familiar, here are five tips on how to help your anxious teen.
1. Understand Nagging vs. Helping
It’s important to know there’s a fine line between what your teenager perceives as helping and nagging. Really think about your approach because nagging is about trying to control behavior.
And guess what, controlling behavior only makes your teen more anxious!
Instead, pay attention to how your teen is taking your suggestions. If you find yourself having to remind, check or correct your teen every few minutes, then you’re probably nagging them.
Step back, take a deep breath, and consider how your behavior might be contributing to their anxiety.
2. Empower Them with Tools to Cope with Anxiety
Rather than nag your teen, empower them with coping tools that can help them be less anxious, like:
- breathing exercises
- meditation techniques
- moderate exercise
- reframing their thinking
- counting to themselves
- taking short breaks
To empower your teen, you also need to know these techniques yourself. Take the time to study up and practice.
Also, call on other people in your teen’s life to help build their coping skills.
Remember, you don’t want to sound like a broken record—in which case, they’ll probably tune you out.
Find allies in their life who are influential and are willing to help empower your teen.
3. Listen without Interrupting
When your teen is talking about their anxiety, listen to them. But listen with the intent to better understand your child. This, as opposed to the parent who interrupts to get their point across.
If you find yourself tempted to do the latter, give yourself a reality check. Use listening skills—such as reflection—to create an understanding between you and your teen.
Interrupting your teen, discounting their thoughts or beliefs, or preaching to them only creates a wider gap, making it much harder for them to want your help. It also makes it harder for your teenager to better deal with anxiety.
4. Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle to Ease Anxiety Symptoms
We know that lifestyle choices greatly influence people with anxiety. If you don’t eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, or get enough sleep, those factors can make anxiety symptoms worse.
Encourage your teen to make healthier choices that support coping with anxiety, such as:
- teaching them to cook healthy meals on their own
- encouraging your teen to be active in clubs and social groups
- participating in sports or other physical activities
- supporting a consistent bedtime as well as “sleep hygiene”
Besides being skills related to treating anxiety symptoms, these are lessons that will serve them now and in the future.
5. Be Supportive with Anxiety Counseling
Finally, really ask yourself if it’s time for teen therapy and be supportive of your teen working with a counselor for anxiety treatment. An anxiety counselor who specifically understands teens with anxiety symptoms can help your child with many of these issues.
Encouraging coping skills for anxiety, a mental health therapist can be another support system for your teen as they learn to face the condition.
Teen Anxiety Treatment Columbus, OH
If your teen struggles with anxiety, there are many ways you can help.
But, it’s encouraging to know other resources, like anxiety counselors who specialize in adolescent and teen symptoms, are available too. When it comes to anxiety and teenagers, taking a multi-faceted approach can best help them overcome their anxiety symptoms.
And if you’re still struggling to parent your teenager and you’re concerned about their behavior and anxiety symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out for help from an anxiety counselor trained to help teens and adolescents. If you decide you’re in need of teen counseling in Columbus, OH from a high quality counseling practice, please reach out and contact Blue Boat Counseling today.