It’s quite normal for teenagers to feel anxious from time time. They go through lots of hormonal changes and the pressures of school and social media activity can add to this anxiety. In addition, children learn their behaviour from others and so will pick up anxious behaviour from being around anxious people. Some are fortunate enough to naturally develop helpful ways of coping with anxiety and others don’t so will need to learn how to manage it.
Anxiety is the most common mental health concern for both children and adults. Because one of the symptoms in anxious teenagers is a quiet and compliant teen, they frequently go unnoticed by their parents and teachers. For some children, anxiety affects their behaviour and thoughts every day, interfering with their school, home and even their social life. This is when you may want to consider seeking some help.
Symptoms of anxiety in teenagers
Signs to look out for in your child are:
• Finding it hard to concentrate
• Not sleeping well
• Not eating properly
• Quickly getting angry or irritable
• Constantly worrying and/or having negative thoughts
• Feeling tense and fidgety, or using the toilet often
• Frequently crying
• Being clingy
• Complaining of tummy aches and feeling unwell
How can you relieve your teenagers anxiety, and help them to be more confident
- Routines are still as key with teenagers as they are with younger children. Setting bed times and set meal times helps them know what is happening next and feel in control of day to day things.
- Reduce the stress at home. Sometimes we as adults don’t see our day to day life as stressful, but if there is bickering at home, stressing about bills openly in front of the children or arguing between parents, this can effect our children and teens more than we realise.
- Try to ensure that they do something fun every day and encourage them to spend time in the fresh air.
- Encourage independence. It’s sometimes ‘easier’ to do everything for them, but encouraging them to be more independent will set them up for adult life, give them some responsibility and a chance to become more confident.
- Build up their self confidence. We all like to be praised, no matter how old we are. We all like to know that someone notices and takes the time to tell us when we’ve done something well. So praise your teenager and tell them you’re proud of them instead of finding things to criticise. They may not have done a chore as well as you would but if they’ve done it as best they can then thank them and tell them ‘well done’. Also try to involve your teenager in activities he/she enjoys and can feel proud of doing. Confidence built when doing an ‘out of school’ activity will spread into their school work and relationships with friends.
Treatments for Teenage Anxiety
If you’d like to speak to a professional about helping your teenager overcome their anxiety, there are some options you can move forward with.
Counselling is one option. It can help your teenager resolve and workout some of the issues they are going through. Unfortunately, waiting lists to access counselling through your GP can be long
There are a number of other options. I work with teenagers suffering from anxiety using an appropriate combination of techniques, including cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and Mindfulness. For me, every client, whatever their age, is a wonderful unique human being and deserves an individual approach
My aim is to initially help them to get over the state of crisis they are often in when they first to come to see me. Then, I teach them tools and techniques they can use to help manage their mood if they start to feel anxious or experience any other negative emotions. Learning helpful ways to cope with their anxiety gives them skills that, once learned, will serve them for the rest of their life.
If you would like to talk about your anxious teenager, pick up the phone and I will be very happy to listen.