3 Tips for Helping Your Adolescent Through Anxiety

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Anxiety is one of the most prevalent problems in adolescents and teenagers in America today. Even after attending a treatment program like the ones offered at Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center, your child might still struggle to cope with anxiety. What can a parent do?

Encourage Action Over Avoidance: As parents, we are usually able to tell the difference between a true stomach virus or a tummy-ache caused by nerves. Some days, we are willing to indulge the nonverbal pleas of our children who want to avoid a certain activity or person. At the right time, approach them with a loving tone, ask them what is really going on and how we can help, then encourage them to take action themselves. Anxiety can feel overwhelming, debilitating, and intimidating to an adolescent. If we notice that our child is in a state of avoidance due to their anxiety, we have to help them take a healthy approach. Encourage action over avoidance, reminding your adolescent they are capable of taking actionable steps to confront their fears and challenges.

Take Caution with Codependency: When our children are sick and struggling, we want to take care of them, nurture them, and sometimes coddle them. The experience of mental illness in adolescents can be transient or it can be a lifetime challenge over which they will have to persevere. Like snipping open the cocoon of a budding butterfly, we inhibit our children’s natural strength when we overstep our boundaries. It is important to differentiate between what is our responsibility and what is the responsibility of our child.

Reduce Your (Overly High) Expectations: In our heart of hearts as parents, we want nothing but the best for our children because we know that they are capable of the best. We face a struggle as parents to remain present with our children and witness their unique progressive growth one moment at a time. Worrying about their future and wanting to build their minds and spirits to the best of our ability, we can create expectations for ourselves and our children that become extremely high-pressure. Our adolescents meanwhile are trying to live their lives in the innocence and freedom of childhood while preparing for the responsibilities of adulthood. Too much pressure from you as a parent can sometimes worsen their anxieties, so be sensitive to the way your expectations are defined and communicated.

Anxiety is commonly co-occurring with drug and alcohol abuse. If your adolescent is struggling with anxiety, help is available. Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers primary residential treatment and academic support, providing life cleansing programs to build a foundation of hope in recovery. Call us today for information at 662-598-4214.