How to Support a Teen Suffering with Anxiety
In this week's episode, we're talking about: How to Support a Teen Suffering with Anxiety
Notes from the show:
It’s important that a teen suffering with anxiety knows this:
Anxiety has nothing to do with strength or courage. It is not a weakness of character or a personal flaw and, even if you are diagnosed with what a doctor might call a disorder, that label doesn’t define you.
Anxiety is common - up to 1 in 5 young people struggle with anxiety. That means in any classroom their are a few students trying to cope with anxiety. And many adults are suffering too.
Let your teen know they are not alone, and that they are still a unique and valuable individual. Suffering with anxiety does not define them.
We all experience anxiety sometimes. It might be about different things as we go through different stages in life. But no-one is immune to anxiety. Before judging a young person for fears that may not resonate with adults, we might think about how many teens are fearless about death and disease and how many people over 50 are not! Anxiety will always manifest in personal relevance hearing another’s concerns is supportive, letting them know that you don’t understand their concerns is not. Again, hearing without judgement is key.
Things you can do to offer support:
Be available to hear without judgment.
Take walks together, walking in nature calms anxiety and creates a sense of space and time for easy conversation.
You might offer financial support for counselling, or invite your teen to choose a book or another course of action they feel drawn to.
Some suggestions you might offer support with:
- learning a martial art, or going to a yoga class
- finding a local course, or support group
- or downloading an app to help them learn mindfulness or breathing techniques
Suggestions that our daughter’s recommend
- Ear Plugs
- MP3 Player
- Quiet space to get grounded
- Being left alone until they are ready to process their feelings
But don’t expect them to necessarily accept or be majorly proactive. They may feel very confused or overwhelmed. Let them know you’re there and you’re happy to help and leave room for them to explore.
Smiling Mind offer some free supportive meditations and breathing techniques for teens.