Facing Adolescent Anxiety: Ways Parents Can Help Their Teens Navigate Tough Times – by Anya Willis
Teen anxiety and depression due to trauma can be quite concerning to parents, as it is always difficult to watch an adolescent struggle. While teen angst is fairly common, sometimes things can progress beyond temporary stress and develop into a full anxiety disorder. Childhood Trauma Coaching explains that parents should make sure that they know what types of signs to watch for in their teens and what kind of action they can take to help their child.
Understanding the Warning Signs
As Psych Central indicates, moodiness in teens is not an immediate sign of trouble, nor is it necessarily worrisome when an adolescent starts sleeping more than they had in the past. However, these are signs that, when combined with other changes including experiencing a traumatic event, can point toward issues with anxiety or depression.
When a teen starts exhibiting other changes, such as becoming withdrawn, eating poorly, doing worse in school, or pulling away from friends or hobbies, it may be time to take action. Some of these issues may resolve themselves on their own relatively quickly, but when these types of changes last for a couple of weeks or longer, parents should address them.
Connecting and Listening to Your Anxious Teen
Parents should try to open up the lines of communication with their adolescent, and it is important to be patient and understanding as they talk about what is bothering them. Don’t be dismissive of their concerns and try to present things in a way that will be seen as supportive rather than intrusive.
There are some things that parents can do on their own to help an anxious teen. Make changes as you can to ensure that life is controlled, calm, and supportive on the homefront, and help your adolescent learn breathing and relaxation techniques that can serve to soothe their anxiety. The Mayo Clinic suggests encouraging a teen to increase their physical activity, and it can be helpful to cut down on screen time as well. Find ways to be a positive role model in your teen’s life as well. Act, talk, and think optimistically, take responsibility for mistakes, and be compassionate and understanding.
When it comes to being proactive in your child’s mental health, sleep can be a key ingredient. Make sure your child has an appropriate bedtime routine and sleep environment to encourage a healthy amount of sleep. Things like a white noise machine and ceiling fan can make a world of difference. You can snag a white noise machine from popular retailers like Target or Walmart. If installing a fan is beyond your skillset, you can get the job done by hiring someone with experience. Go online and check out service directories for pros in your area. The average cost of installation ranges from $144 to $352, so it’s a very affordable investment in your teen’s comfort.
Finding Professional Help
While assisting your teen to make some healthy changes can have a significant impact on their anxiety issues, there are times where pursuing professional help is the best course of action. HeretoHelp suggests that when a teen’s anxiety is interfering with their day-to-day activities or is seriously impacting the family, action needs to be taken. It is important to take teen anxiety seriously, and reaching out for additional support and professional help is oftentimes necessary.
Checking in first with your family doctor or a school counselor can be a good place to start, as they can help to develop a plan of action. Oftentimes, connecting with a therapist or counselor like Celeste at Childhood Trauma Coaching will be the best next step, and they will utilize a variety of approaches to help your adolescent better manage their anxiety issues.
A therapist may utilize cognitive behavioral therapy, which the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health describes as being therapy that focuses on one’s habits and feelings. The professional will look to address patterns that can be self-destructive, and the therapist then works with the teen to modify thinking in ways that will produce more positive behaviors. Therapists may also suggest family therapy, a combination of therapy types, or even breathwork and medication depending on the circumstances.
It is essential that teen anxiety be taken seriously and while an adolescent may feel overwhelmed, help is available and balance can be achieved once again. When an adolescent’s behavior changes significantly, and those changes persist beyond a couple of weeks, it is time to connect with them and consider pursuing professional help. Teen anxiety can progress to become a very serious issue, but there are ways to manage these issues and help your child face their worries in healthy ways.
Celeste of Childhood Trauma Coaching is certified as a yoga therapist and family recovery coach, as well as a survivor of childhood trauma, who helps those affected by childhood trauma. Reach out to Celeste today for more information!
Self-Care: Grooming Your Child to Be Happy and Capable from the Get-Go – by Anya Willis
Self-care is an indispensable life skill, something every parent needs to teach their child. Children are sensitive, impressionable, lack maturity, and are often faced with many external pressures even at a young age. With self-care, they can learn how to be happy and healthy, and develop the self-confidence necessary to overcome obstacles on their way to adulthood (and beyond).
Keep in mind that self-care is a lifestyle more than an activity or a habit. It’s not something you kids will pick up in a day. Introduce the concept early and make it a part of their routine to make it stick as they grow up.
Self-care for the early years
Elementary and middle schoolers can’t grasp advanced concepts like gratitude and positive thinking. Start simple and focus on the basics of self-care. You’ll be building a foundation for them. Below are some examples:
- Tidying up
- Dressing appropriately
- Hygiene basics like brushing teeth
- Eating greens
- Social skills like greetings and thank you’s
- Games and fun activities like drawing
Over time, you can introduce other aspects of self-care. They can be categorized as caring for the body, mind, and heart (or emotional wellbeing).
Self-care for the body
Physical activity will help your child throughout life, as Parents magazine can confirm. Here are some ways to encourage your child to look after their physical health:
- Picking up a sport like swimming or football
- Playing outside with other kids
- Taking walks in nature
- Picking up a physical hobby like gardening
- Nutrition and eating balanced meals
- Body positivity
Self-care for the mind
As they say, your life is as your thoughts make it. They influence your habits, which influence your actions, which make your life. Here are some mental health suggestions for your kids:
- Practicing positive thinking and optimism
- Meditation and breathing exercises
- Reading wholesome content
- Having an open mind
- Mental exercises like puzzles and crosswords
Self-care for the heart
Finally, teach your kids to look after their emotional well-being. Ignoring or neglecting emotions can hobble your child’s growth:
- Having healthy boundaries
- Learning how to say no
- Listening to music
- Learning about emotional triggers
- Accepting and giving compliments
Self-care begins with you
Every child is different and has different learning preferences, but they all have one thing in common – they look up to their parents and want to be like them. As The Center for Parenting puts it, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Your child will grow up to mimic your behavior, attitudes, and beliefs.
That’s why, if you’d like your child to practice self-care, you need to practice it yourself and model it for them. Essentially, when you make your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing a priority and practice a healthy lifestyle, you can expect your child to follow suit.
Watch your stress levels and avoid burnout
Kids are sponges, and they will quickly absorb your mental and emotional state. If you’re always stressed around your kids, they will pick up on it and make it a part of themselves. You may end up unintentionally sabotaging their self-care practice. Again, you need to practice self-care for everyone’s sake. Request extra time off from work, learn how to say no, and achieve a healthy life balance.
What if you’re a business owner overburdened with responsibilities? You can still avoid burnout by taking positive action, which includes learning how to make efficient use of your time. Limit distractions, delegate tasks, and prioritize to tackle important tasks in the morning to reduce stress. Focus on the bigger picture – which is your family’s well-being.
According to a UPI report, few teens have the life skills necessary to “adult”. Some struggle even with the most basic of things – like not knowing they’re supposed to visit a drug store when they get sick! If you want your child to be capable and self-reliant, teach them self-care. It’s the greatest gift you can give them.
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