If you have a teenager, or pre-teenager with anxiety, you know that it can be tough knowing what to do or say to help them. Our daughter went through a couple of years of anxiety which seemed to come out of the blue. A therapist friend of ours explained that this can happen when the abstract mind is developing. This makes sense now, and like our daughter, you will find that many times anxiety for your teen or pre-teen will pass, too. In the meantime, here are some important things to know.
First remember: Your teenager with anxiety is NORMAL!
Childhood and teenage anxiety are extremely common. Don’t feel that you have failed as a parent. They are learning about how to deal with adult life, and some anxiety is bound to be involved. In fact, I’d be worried if they had no anxiety about life and growing up.
However, some teenagers and pre-teens are likely to be more anxious than others. And that’s okay, too. We are all different people and cope with life in diverse ways. Our teenagers are the same. Some of us just experience more anxiety around certain situations than others.
So, don’t panic!
Although anxiety at this age is normal, there are some parenting strategies we can use to help our teenagers and pre-teens overcome and cope with anxiety. These strategies will equip them with life skills that they will go on to use in adulthood in order to cope with the world.
Anxious Teenager Tip One:
Do not tell them not to worry. Instead, help them work out if they should be worried (or as worried as they are) about something.
It’s all too easy to tell your child ‘Trust me, you don’t need to worry’. But at some point, you must remember that they will feel anxiety and you will not be there to say, ‘trust me’. This tip will prove valuable especially when they enter adulthood.
When your teenager is worried, sit them down. Have a discussion with them. Use these questions to help them conclude about how much anxiety is needed in any situation by themselves.
-What feelings are you experiencing?
-What about this experience is making you feel that way?
-What are the possible outcomes and how likely are each?
-Do you need as much fear as you are holding for this experience at present? And why?
-How could we look at this situation with a positive realistic viewpoint?
Try to help them come up with some positive self-talk they can use while they are in the situation. For example: ’I am nervous about going to the party tomorrow, but I have an opportunity to make some friends. If they don’t like me it’s ok. It’ not the end of the word. I will try again with some different people another time.’
Gradually, your child will learn to ask themselves similar questions and self-regulate their own anxiety.
Anxious Teenager Tip Two:
Don’t avoid subjecting your teenager to every situation that causes them anxiety. If you do, how can you expect them to learn to manage their anxiety? I am not suggesting that you let your teenager become overwhelmed with anxiety-provoking situations. Instead, I am suggesting that you tailor how many anxiety-provoking experiences they experience with what they can cope with and a very tiny amount extra that provides an achievable challenger for them to overcome. This allows your teenager to experience a sense of achievement, grow in confidence, and feel able to progress a little bit more with each experience.
For example, your teenager may be invited to a birthday party they are anxious about. You could say “Ok, I know you’re anxious. Shall we go for half an hour and then leave?” The following time you could suggest that again you will go for half an hour then leave, but this time they must say hello to at least 1 person there.
Anxious Teenager Tip Three:
Don’t tell them what they are doing. Propose ideas and ask them if they want to do something. Anxiety is so debilitating because you feel trapped and out of control of the situation you are in. By asking them what they want to do and giving them a choice, you allow them to feel some control over the situation. This should help to ease their anxiety.
For example, ‘Would you like to go to the park this afternoon?’. Listen to not only their words but their body language. If they look like they are saying ‘yes’ when they want to say ’no’, give them another opportunity to give their opinion. You could say “You don’t look very keen on going to the park, is there something you’d rather do with me this afternoon instead?”
Anxious Teenager Tip Three:
If your teen or pre-teen is in the midst of a real anxiety attack, using the senses can help to calm them. First, have your child find one thing that they can see and focus in on that. Next, find one thing to focus on which they can smell, touch, taste. . . you see where I’m going with this, right? This trick is incredibly helpful in reigning in a full-blown panic attack.
Hopefully, these tips will help your loved one learn how to cope with their anxiety now and in the future. Remember, some anxiety is short-lived. If you think it has become a problem, and you’ve noticed personality changes in your teen and/or a change in sleep patterns or and lack of interest in things that they used to enjoy doing, please seek out a professional counselor.
Additionally, homeopathy can help so much. Find out more about how homeopathy can help ease anxiety.
Have you tried any of these tips with your teenager? How did it go? Do you have any of your own tips you like to share? Let us know!
A trip to the beach should be tons of fun, but the reality is that going to the beach with kids is a lot of work! You have to pack a ton of gear to be comfortable, snacks and drinks are a must, and then there’s the sand, which gets on everything and is impossible to remove. Luckily for you, I have some great beach hacks that will make your next family trip a breeze! (more…)
We’ve all heard how adopting an “attitude of gratitude” can improve your life, but how exactly do you go about doing that? Sometimes it’s easy to let life get us down and to get caught up in all the daily hustle that we forget to stop and give thanks for the little (and big) things.
Here are some simple ways that we incorporate gratitude in our homeschool.
1. Start the Day With an Offering
This can be an offertory prayer, or a simple statement of intention for the day. You can also offer a prayer for a goal that you would like to accomplish for the day. Don’t keep these to yourself; it’s easy to do as a family before you begin your homeschool day. We like to say our offertory prayer at breakfast. It really does pave the way for an awesome day.
2. When Something Goes Wrong Reframe It
I’m not saying to pretend that bad things don’t happen. They do happen and they will happen. That’s life. In my experience it’s the small things that have the biggest ability to make me forget to be grateful, not the big things in life. A forgotten appointment; a missed deadline; plans needing to be changed last-minute; a week that’s too busy; all these things throw me into a tailspin of ingratitude.
Image via Pexels
It’s the essential life skill that our children, no matter what they end up doing in life, are always going to need. But good money management is still something a lot of parents shy away from discussing, fearing that the subject is too adult. Learning about personal finance can be done in an age appropriate way, and is a valuable series of lessons to teach kids as part of your portfolio of lessons.
We face a situation today where many children bloom into young adults and go off to college or get their first job still not properly understanding the basics of money and how to create a budget. No wonder that the average household is now thousands in debt and not accustomed to being smart with their cash. You can make a change by adopting an open, honest approach to money with your children and involving them in simple lessons about how to spend, save and budget….
Lead By Example
When the time for weekend family activities rolls around, there’s absolutely no reason to spend money just to have fun. There are scads of things you can do that don’t cost you a cent. These are just a few of them.
If you’ve never considered volunteering as a family, there’s no better time to do so. With a little research, chances are you’ll come up with a long list of organizations that need volunteers. Soup kitchens and animal shelters are two very popular options. You may be surprised at what a fun family activity this can be!
With all of the streaming services currently available, it’s never been easier to have a free movie marathon complete with buttery popcorn, large cups of soda and Raisinets. It’s actually possible to watch several seasons of the same series in one weekend. Binge-watching at its very best!
One fun family activity is backyard camping. It doesn’t cost a cent and can be as luxurious or rustic as you want it to be. Add a sense of realism to the adventure, by declaring your house to be “off-limits” for the entire time. Consider turning off the Wi-Fi as well. This is a great opportunity to play board games that are gathering dust in the closet and to catch up with what’s going on in each other’s lives.
How I Discovered Rachel Hollis
I am a new-ish fan girl of the funny, inspiring and endearing Rachel Hollis. I came across her book Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be while browsing books on Audible. The title immediately caught my attention and the cover photo of Rachel and her family made me smile. Sometimes I just have a feeling about a book that turns out to be accurate, and this time I was right: it was a book I’d like. But here’s the thing: I don’t like, I love it. And I’m now a total Rachel Hollis fan, and I love her new book, Real Life Dinners: Fun, Fresh, Fast Dinners from the Creator of the Chic Site, too.
Before listening to her first book, I didn’t know that Rachel had a popular blog and a gigantic following of dedicated women from all walks of life who are striving to be not only become the best versions of themselves (as Matthew Kelly would say), and are who are also soaking up Rachel’s no-nonsense advice about how to be the women God created them to be.
Striving to Be Better
I have had many periods in my life when I have organized my pantry, made grocery lists that perfectly coordinated with the meal plan I had for the week, actually stuck to the plan, and felt awesome about my capabilities as a wife and a mother. But, these strategies never lasted. Meal planning was always difficult for me until I discovered some simple tips for healthy meal planning. I mean, who wants to sit inside on the suggested Sunday afternoon and think about what to cook every singe day of the week ahead when they’d rather be outdoors doing anything else today? And for us homeschoolers, we not only have to cook a week’s worth of dinners, but also, breakfasts and lunches, too. Sigh. What’s a culinary-challenged girl to do?
Real Life Dinners
When the publisher of Rachel’s newest book, REAL LIFE DINNERS: Fun, Fresh, Fast Dinners from the Creator of The Chic Site, asked if I’d like to review this book, I couldn’t reply to the email fast enough. It’s no secret that I don’t love to cook, and I especially don’t love to cook under the pressure of the question that rears its ugly head every afternoon at about 4 pm: what am I going to feed my family for dinner?
Yes, I needed some “real life” dinners.