The Dos And Don'ts Of Parenting When Your Teen Suffers From Anxiety

The Dos And Don'ts Of Parenting When Your Teen Suffers From Anxiety

Anxiety is a mental illness that needs to be handled carefully. This is where your parenting style needs to change in order to make your child feel safe and comfortable.

People suffering from anxiety often suffer from intense, excessive, and persistent worry about everyday situations. They tend to fear situations easily. Whenever they have a panic attack their heart rate and breathing rate increase drastically. During a panic attack, people have difficulty breathing, begin sweating, and feel tired easily. This is one of the most common mental illnesses and is often not given enough attention. Teenage is an important part of life where our bodies and minds go through a lot of changes. Teenagers begin dealing with more stress than they ever did before. It is that period when they learn how to deal with stress and stressful situations. However, in many cases, anxiety in teenagers is mistaken for common teenage stress. It takes some time to figure out that the teenager actually suffers from the condition. Once the child has been diagnosed, parents need to adjust their behaviors and tendencies to accommodate the mental state of their child. 

As a parent, most times your emotions and worries overshadow better judgment. It's hard for parents to stay objective when it comes to the well-being of their child and this makes it hard for them to handle anxiety. There are things they know they need to say in such situations but the words just don't come out. The things they clearly know they aren't supposed to say sometimes slip out. The teenagers need comfort and assurance and this needs to be provided in the right way. As parents, your job is to help your children "figure it out" and help them learn how to deal with it. The days of kissing their booboos and making things alright are long gone.


One thing that parents need to avoid is telling their children “Don’t worry about it. It will be fine," no matter how tempting it is. You might strongly believe that it will be okay but that is not what they 'want' to hear. At the same time, during such situations as emotionally driven parents, people tend to make promises they might not be able to keep and this should be avoided. As parents, you feel like you need to be the superhero in your child's life and sure you have greater experience in life than they do but this does not mean that you can predict the future. They know that you can't and the future is something that scares them as well due to the uncertainty(at least in most cases).


Anxious teens want someone to comfort them and be there for them, make them feel safe and strong instead of trying to be superheroes. They might even want someone to take the burden of worries away from them. Offering comfort only at the moment and solving their problems for them will take the anxiety away only temporarily. They will feel better in the moment and we need a more long-term plan rather than a short-term one. This is something that needs to be fixed. 

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As a parent, the natural tendency is to tell the children what to do and how to go about things. We believe that they observe and learn this way but this is not entirely true. The truth is that the teens need to work through the problem on their own. Unless they go through the process directly they will not build their confidence or gain any experience. They will always be dependent and that is not something they need. The child’s short-term discomfort will lead to a long-term ability and confidence to problem solve. It is best to just coordinate with them and guide them only when they need it. It is hard to be objective in such situations but that is just something the children need from you as a parent. 

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As teenagers, they have crossed the phase of life where your enthusiasm and expression of high emotion made them feel happy. All they really need now is for you to tone down that emotion and be there for them as a friend. That is the kind of comfort they need. As parents of anxious teens, the questions you ask them need to change in tone and the way they are put across. It is good to ask them questions, this shows them that you care. However, don't ask them too many questions or questions that show them you are strict and that they cannot really open up to you. The questions should encourage the teens to solve their problems and seek resources around that help them figure out how to handle situations or how things work.


Questions like "What do you think you want to do?", “What are your options in this situation?", or “How do you think he/she will respond?” communicate the message that you are not going to be involved directly in the problem-solving process. It shows them that you believe in them to solve their own problems and this gives them confidence and a sense of independence. It also shows them that you are always there to support them if they ever need it. 

Most teens seek for validation. You should tell them how you feel about things when they open up to you. Tell them how you feel about their efforts and be specific about it. They feel inflated when they receive compliments so it is necessary to give them positive feedback at all times. Even criticism should be positive. The way it is put across is very important. They also require validation in other areas as well. It is important to let them know directly that you still love them and that they still are important to you. 

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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