We are offering in person & virtual counseling appointments. Call 724-654-9555 NOW or Complete the Get Started Tab & We Will Call You! admin@angelus.hush.com

Welcome to the Angelus blog, where we will dive into the important topic of helping your teenager navigate anxiety. Adolescence is a time of self-discovery and change, and it’s perfectly normal for your teen to face challenges and anxiety along the way.

Understanding the triggers and causes of anxiety in teenagers is the first step towards providing the support they need. Moreover, it’s essential to recognize that as parents, your child’s anxiety can sometimes trigger your own worries and anxieties.

But fear not, as we’re here to guide you through this journey with positivity and support, so you and your teen can grow stronger together. Let’s explore the causes of anxiety in teenagers, how it might affect you as a parent, and how to foster a nurturing environment for your adolescent to thrive.

Common Triggers and Causes of Anxiety in Teenagers

Anxiety in teenagers can be triggered by various factors. By understanding these triggers, parents can better help their teens manage the impact of them, and learn to curb their anxiety. Here are some common causes:

  • Academic Pressure: The demands of school, exams, and the desire to excel can cause stress and anxiety in teenagers.
  • Social Pressures: Peer pressure, bullying, and the desire to fit in can lead to feelings of anxiety and low self-esteem.
  • Family Issues: Problems at home, such as conflicts, divorce, or a loss in the family, can be major anxiety triggers for teens.
  • Life Transitions: Significant life changes like moving to a new school, puberty, relationship breakups, or the challenges of becoming more independent can create anxiety.
  • Technology Overload: Excessive screen time, cyberbullying, or social media comparison can lead to anxiety.
  • Health Concerns: Worries about their health or the health of loved ones, can be a major source of anxiety. After the recent pandemic they have been receiving a lot of messages that they SHOULD be worrying about what they may catch or spread, leading an already anxious teen into an overdrive level.
  • Perfectionism: Striving for perfection in all aspects of life can be a heavy burden, causing anxiety in teens. What’s more is that their perspective of what ‘perfect’ is, can be very skewed and lead them to be seeking an unobtainable goal.
  • Financial Stress: If the family is facing financial difficulties, and let’s face it, with the recent inflation, everyone is feeling financial stress. Teens might find themselves worrying about bills, groceries, unplanned expences, and about their future and college expenses.
The Importance of Vulnerability in Parenting

“When parents are doing the same thing as a child, it’s showing the vulnerability and the rawness that a parent can have. That not everything is perfect for everyone, and it is okay to not be okay, and that they can work on what they need, no matter how old they are.”

Parent-Based Anxiety

As parents, it’s natural to be concerned about your teenager’s well-being. But sometimes, your own worries can inadvertently contribute to your teen’s anxiety. Here are a few ways this can happen:

  1. Overprotectiveness: Being too overprotective can make your teen feel like you don’t trust them, leading to anxiety. It can also give them the message that the world is a scary place and that they aren’t safe going out in it. There is a very fine line between being protective enough and overload.
  2. Modeling Anxiety: If your teen sees you constantly stressed or anxious, they may receive the message that they should be too and mirror your behavior.
  3. High Expectations: Setting overly high expectations can put unnecessary pressure on your teen, fueling their anxiety. Sometimes it is important to take a step back and look at what is on your teens plate and explore what is realistic and developmentally appropriate to be asking of them at this stage. Because they are starting to look and sound so much like adults, at times we can forget that they are still developing and don’t have all the resources in place yet that we do as an adult.
  4. Intrusive Questions: Constantly asking about their day, school, or friends can make your teen feel overwhelmed. Try to feel out when they are the most comfortable and open during their day and aim your curiosity there. If they aren’t a morning person, asking too many questions before the school bus comes, can start off their day on the wrong foot.

Understanding the causes of anxiety in both your teenager and yourself is the first step in creating a supportive environment. In the next section, we’ll explore proactive strategies to help you and your teen manage anxiety together.

20 Strategies to Help Your Teenager Cope with Anxiety
  1. Open Communication: Encourage your teenager to talk about their feelings. Let them know you’re there to listen without judgment.
  2. Deep Breathing: Teach your teen deep breathing exercises, like the 4-7-8 technique, to manage anxiety in the moment.
  3. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness exercises with your teen, such as guided meditation or simply paying attention to the present moment.
  4. Exercise and Outdoor Activities: Engage in physical activities together like walks, bike rides, or yoga to reduce stress and anxiety.
  5. Healthy Diet: Promote a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Proper nutrition can positively impact mood.
  6. Adequate Sleep: Ensure your teen gets enough sleep; a consistent sleep schedule is crucial for anxiety management.
  7. Limit Screen Time: Set boundaries on screen time, especially before bedtime, as it can worsen anxiety.
  8. Time Management Skills: Help your teen learn effective time management to reduce academic stress.
  9. Relaxation Techniques: Explore various relaxation methods, such as progressive muscle relaxation or journaling. Find 8 options you can use today to help your teen relax HERE.
  10. Seek Professional Help: If your teen’s anxiety is severe or persistent, consult a mental health professional for therapy or counseling.
  11. Support Social Activities: Encourage your teen to maintain a healthy social life and engage in activities they enjoy.
  12. Set Realistic Expectations: Discuss the importance of setting achievable goals and celebrate their accomplishments, no matter how small.
  13. Create a Safe Space: Ensure your teen has a comfortable and quiet place to retreat when they need a break.
  14. Routines and Structure: Establish daily routines to provide stability and predictability. Learn More HERE!
  15. Limit Caffeine: Reduce caffeine intake, as it can exacerbate anxiety.
  16. Encourage Hobbies: Help your teen find hobbies or interests that provide a sense of fulfillment and distraction from anxiety. Here is a cheat sheet of 70 cool teen ideas!
  17. Teach Problem-Solving: Equip your teen with problem-solving skills to address issues that trigger anxiety.
  18. Positive Reinforcement: Offer positive feedback and reinforcement for their efforts and progress in managing anxiety.
  19. Family Support: Involve the whole family in creating a supportive and understanding environment.
  20. Celebrate Small Wins: Recognize and celebrate your teenager’s achievements along the way, no matter how minor they may seem.

Remember that supporting your teenager in managing anxiety is an ongoing process. Be patient, flexible, and willing to adapt to their changing needs. Providing consistent love and understanding can make a significant difference in their journey towards a healthier, happier life. And if you decide you need a little extra help in providing that support, we are here for you! At Angelus we have therapists in our New Castle office, Hermitage office, and in four school districts in Lawrence county; including Laurel, Mohawk, Shenango, and Wilmington. Reach out today by completing our Getting Started tab. Learn more about how Angelus works teens in our teen journey though counseling roadmap HERE!