What are you afraid of? We might ask this question innocently, attempting to understand the strong reactions coming from our teens about something they are resisting. Is there any fear coming up for you? Our teens don’t like talking about fear. Fear, experiencing fear, and being honest about being afraid is still taboo in our culture. Fear indicates vulnerability and vulnerability is still deeply connected to ideas of weakness. Therefore, for most teens, to be afraid means to be inadequate or less than in some way. Admitting fear is not a sign of weakness but a sign of courage. Most often it is the fear of something that is stronger than the something itself. Try telling a teen that, however, when they are experiencing some form of anxiety rooted in fear. Teens have fears about themselves, their peers, their academics, their sports, their world. Teens are in a fragile developmental phase in which they are exploring their identity and how their identity relates to the rest of the world. Their core fear, which is still experienced by many adults, is that they won’t fit in, be good enough, or have a place. Here are some ways to help teens cope with their experience of fear in a way that empowers them to face their fears in a healthy way.
How to Cope with Fear
We tend to run around our fears and find every other way to describe it, other than what it truly is. As a result, we avoid identifying our actual fear and continue to create power within that fear. Popular children’s fiction character Albus Dumbledore, from the globally famous Harry Potter series, wisely said, “Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” It might be overcoming pride and ego which encourages your teen to name what exactly it is they are afraid of or it might be overcoming the shame and insecurity they feel for having that fear. An important lesson to teach your teen is that there is no shame in having fears and insecurities, because having fears and insecurities is a normal human experience. You’ll also be reminding your teen of the important lesson of acceptance. Naming the fear takes away some of its power and moves your teen in the direction of being solution-focused rather than problem-focused.
Building a strong, positive foundation for adolescent males is the primary purpose of the residential treatment programs at Stonewater Recovery Center. Our remote residence is nestled in the lush countryside of Mississippi, taking teens away from the normal environments and placing them in a culture of healing. For information on our medical withdrawal management and programs for recovery, call us today: 662-598-4214.