How Does Anxiety in Teens Manifest?
Updated: Oct 8, 2021
Teenage anxiety is rapidly rising worldwide, and according to surveys, one in every three of all teens will go through anxiety or depression. In some instances, the teen may be angry, upset, or anxious without any reason. Growing up and body changes come with hormonal fluctuations that can lead to anxiety. Every parent’s dream is to see their children happy, perform well in school, confident, and with the best behaviors.
If your daughter or son is struggling with finding satisfaction, it may be time to evaluate what could be going on with him/her. There are many signs of anxiety that a parent can pick from their child; excessive fear, restlessness, nervousness, withdrawal, and stress, amongst others.
CAUSES OF ANXIETY IN TEENS
Although being anxious is a normal reaction to some life occurrences and circumstances, it is unhealthy to feel anxious on every occasion. Parents will always wonder why their teen has to be anxious or worried about since they do not have major responsibilities such as paying for rent/mortgage, buying food, paying hospital bills, or taking care of the kids. That is because the stressors in their world are different from the stressors of an adult. Below is a list of things that may cause anxiety in your child.
1. High Expectations
Most teenagers are under a lot of pressure to excel in every aspect of their lives. Many aspire to score good grades in school that will earn them a chance to be admitted to the college/university of their choice. Others are expected to obtain a scholarship. Apart from studying, they are also expected to do home chores, volunteer, participate in school or community events, and still sustain a healthy social life. All these expectations can leave a teen feeling drained and deprive him/her of rest time or sleep, which can increase anxiety.
Hormonal fluctuations are the main factor in teenage related anxiety, as well as causing mood swings. Your teen will sometimes feel upset, angry, or depressed for no apparent reason; this may be due to hormonal changes. Teenage girls deal with hormonal changes that come with their menstrual cycles and boys with testosterone surges. Since these occurrences are new to them, and their inexperience to cope with these feelings, it is a skill they need to learn during their adolescence.
3. Social Media
Most teenagers have access to social media platforms such as Facebook, Tik Tok, YouTube, or Instagram. Although these platforms are beneficial as they allow them to form social networks and communicate with friends and family, it can also be a source of anxiety. Through social media, posts and pictures are shared, teens tend to compare their lives to what others post on these sites, which can heighten their anxiety. Being on social media can also expose teens to bullying and spreading rumors, which can leave them stressed. Also, the filters used in social media create unrealistic expectations on how they should look.
4. Scary or Threatening moments
During this time of Covid-19, everybody’s life has been disrupted, and nobody is sure of what tomorrow holds. Teenagers are worried of when they will be able to have their “normal” social life back. The constant news of new infections and deaths does not help, increasing worry about their health and that of their loved ones. And even before Covid-19, many students experienced shootings at their schools or saw this in the news, which can make any teen feel unsafe and anxious.
5. Peer Pressure
Today’s teens are living under pressure from their friends. Many report feeling under constant dissection from their peers and are pressured to fit in or forced to do things that will win the approval of their friends. This pressure can be overwhelming to your teen and can lead to anxiety and other mental health problems.
WHAT A PARENT CAN DO TO HELP
1. Accept your child's fears and worries. It is crucial that your teen feels that you are taking them seriously and that you are there to support him/her.
2. Encourage your teen to set small goals for activities they believe are sources of their anxiety
3. Be patient with them. Avoid getting angry with them if they avoid situations they are uncomfortable in. Instead, let them know that you are confident that they will handle their feelings if they take things one step at a time.
4. Tenderly urge your kid to perform activities they are anxious about by encouraging them to achieve their goals without controlling them.
5. Seek counseling from an experienced counselor that works with teens and anxiety if needed.
Parents with teenagers who suffer from anxiety can attest that it has not been easy sailing. Knowing the signs of anxiety is a big step towards helping your son or daughter overcome the problem. Listening to them and offering them help whenever they need it can go a long way to helping them overcome their fears, worries, depression and anxiety.
Your Therapy Friend,
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Perinatal & Relationships Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationship with their children and significant other. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a Perinatal Mental Health Certified Professional, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter and son, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining. Read more about her at: www.infinitetherapeuticservices.com
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