It absolutely feels terrific that the weather has turned nice, we aren’t wearing masks (for the most part), and we are planning our summer vacations. However, for your teen, they are coming to the end of this school year. That means taking tests that can create stress, anxiety, and depression. Also, for seniors, it means the end of high school which is a highly stressful period for everyone.
Let’s begin by defining teen anxiety. Nearly 1 in 3 teens will experience some form of anxiety disorder. They will feel the personal and parental disappointment that we as parents have created with our “culture of achievement.”
They may feel overwhelmed with everything going on as we come to the end of this school year. They can feel a lack of focus and experience headaches, chronic pain, digestive problems, and a loss of sleep.
The signs of anxiety may be subtle so pay close attention:
- Recurring fears and worries about routine parts of everyday life.
- Changes in behavior, such as irritability.
- Avoiding activities or social interactions.
- Dropping grades or school avoidance.
- Trouble sleeping or concentrating.
- Substance use or other risky behaviors.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Headaches on a regular basis.
So, what can you do as a parent? Here are a few ideas.
- Talk with your teen about their stress points. Let them share their anxiety with you.
- Be mindful of the expectations you are setting for your teen. You may be the cause of their stress.
- Encourage your teen to relax, play and see their friends.
- Encourage a mental break, along with a physical break, from their studies and school. Talk about the “fun” in their future.
- Talk with your kids about their social media use.
- Have cell-free dinners and ask great questions of your teens.
- Talk with your pediatrician for additional information. Medication may or may not be the answer, but professional help can be.
- Remember that anxiety is treatable. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Family counseling can be rewarding.
- NEVER make your teen responsible for their stress and anxiety. It will only worsen the situation. As a helping hand, we are here for you as well. For more information, please go to our resources on www.abrighterday.org. I can also be reached at 510-206-1103.Enjoy every minute of raising your teens. Warmly,Elliot KallenPresident, A Brighter Day