Teenagers who exhibit clinical symptoms of anxiety vary from adolescent children who are anxious. Typically, the clinical manifestation of anxiety differs as a child progresses in age. Children have different concerns and weaknesses at various developmental stages.
Younger kids are more likely to experience anxiety related to outside factors, such as animals or insects, fear of the dark, monsters beneath the bed, or something horrible occurring to their pets or family members. Teenagers, meanwhile, are more inclined to worry about themselves, including how they are doing in class or on the sports field, how others see them, their physical appearance, keeping up with trends and being judged negatively, and how their bodies are changing.
By the time they are adolescents, some anxious children have been experiencing negative feelings for a long period. Parents may have known about it, but since the youngster continued to function normally despite their anxiety, nothing was done. Or the youngster received treatment, and things improved. However, as adolescents grow more focused on their friends in middle and high school and as more is required of them, the anxiety may reappear and worsen. Additionally, some teenagers who were not nervous as children start to experience adolescent-onset anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks and social anxiety.
Assisting Preteens and Teenagers in Controlling their Anxiety
Every healthy functioning adult has developed strategies to control negative feelings of worry. You can assist your child in developing this crucial life skill by teaching them how to regulate their anxiety. Here are some suggestions to help your kids in this area:
- Encourage your daughter to express their fears.
You may help your teen girl feel less worried by just talking to her about the things that she worries about. You can better comprehend what’s going on with your child by talking to them and listening to them. And when you comprehend, you’re better prepared to assist your youngster in controlling their anxiety or locating solutions to issues.
- Recognize your daughter’s emotions
Even if the event they are afraid of is unlikely to occur, your daughter’s fear is genuine. This implies that it’s crucial to notice your daughter’s fear and reassure her that she can manage it. Instead of encouraging her not to worry, reassure her instead. It’s important for parents to remember that telling their daughters not to worry implies that fear is an invalid emotion. For instance, your daughter may be worried about scoring well on her SAT. Tell her you recognize her emotions and that the most important thing is that she will give it her best effort. Further, teach her how to soothe her anxiety by creating an action plan to prepare for her SAT and redirect her focus to action items she can do to ensure her SAT goes well.
- Encourage Her to Face Her Fears
To do this, gently encourage your daughter to set action plans for the things that make them feel uncomfortable. Just don’t pressure your daughter into circumstances they don’t feel prepared to handle. Your daughter may, for instance, have anxiety when performing in front of people. You can recommend that your daughter practice their lines in front of the family as a first step.
Additionally, you may assist your daughter by encouraging them to:
- Use self-talk that is constructive, such as “I can manage this. I’ve had circumstances similar to this previously” or “Math may be hard but I’m learning how to be an excellent student.”
- Self-advocate, for instance, saying, “I need some help with my math homework.”
- Develop coping skills that are healthy, such as exercising, or talking to a friend. Have her write down things that help and remind her of things she can do when she feels anxious.
It’s also beneficial to give your daughter appreciation for taking a risk, no matter how minor. It is wise to seek out expert assistance if you have concerns about your daughter’s anxiousness. At Evangelhouse, we focus only on the needs of teenage girls in grades 6-12. If you feel residential treatment would be beneficial, please reach out to us today.