Anxiety is a natural response to stress and fear. For years teens have been facing increasing pressure from school, sports commitments, family concerns, and even peer issues. With everything they’re struggling with, it makes sense that they would have increased anxiety levels in their lives. With the arrival of the pandemic, it is not surprising that we’re all seeing a sharp increase in anxiety in the teens in our lives.
Are you seeing your teen display signs of anxiety? Do you know how to best help them work through and cope with the anxiety that they are struggling with?
How the pandemic may have impacted your teen
It’s a significant understatement that the pandemic has impacted our lives. How it affects us can vary. Some found new sources of strength, while others find their mental wellness taking a hit. For your teen, he likely faced major changes at school, significant changes at home, and changes in social life.
Perhaps he missed out on some of the milestones he was looking forward to? Maybe family and friends moved away or lost someone to the virus. All of this could have resulted in your teen feeling:
- Worry about friends or family leaving or passing away.
- Fear about losing a parent. He may have watched his friends lose their otherwise healthy parents, which could get his anxiety working.
- Insecurity about relationships with friends. This is mainly a problem if your teen has watched his friends move away or move in different directions in a post-lockdown world.
- Fear about getting ill or getting ill again if they struggled to recover when they did get the virus. Many have struggled with the ongoing side effects of illness.
- Worries about watching someone they love fall ill. This may even extend to a relative catching a cold or struggling with seasonal allergies.
- Concern about returning to a regular schedule at school. Going back to school may bring with it fears of getting sick. But it might also bring social anxiety for a teen who has been struggling on his own.
Many people struggled with their mental health during the peak of the pandemic and lockdown. For some, these mental health concerns didn’t fade away once things started slowly returning to normalcy. Understandably, your teen may still be struggling with depression and anxiety.
Helping your teen manage his anxiety
If left untreated, anxiety can potentially consume your teen’s life completely. He may further withdraw from his family, friends, and activities that he once loved. Depression could become a concern, as could a reliance on drugs or alcohol to help him cope. Just what can you do to help your teen manage his anxiety?
- Start with therapy. Therapy will offer him a safe space to speak about how he is feeling and allow him to identify the fears that he may not even know. Individual and family therapy may be an excellent direction to go in.
- Encourage communication. Your teen must understand that you are in his corner and will always support and love him without condition. When he can trust that you won’t judge him, he may just open up to you about how he is feeling.
- Peer groups. This may be his idea of a nightmare for a teen with social anxiety. However, if you can find the right types of peer groups for him, he may just start to tackle some of the social anxiety as he spends more time with his new circle of support.
- Spending time outdoors. Your teen may be reluctant to go outside and spend time with friends, but he may be open to the idea of short trips outside with you and other family members. Perhaps a bike ride at a local lake or a small hike to explore a lush forest. Time outdoors has a way of refreshing the anxious mind.
Finding resources for your teen
Finding your teen additional resources will help ensure that he can better work through his anxiety. There are plenty of options for finding him the resources that he needs.
- Speak with his therapist about additional treatment options.
- Schedule an appointment with his school counselors and teachers. They may be able to offer a modified schedule for his return to school. Your teen is likely to struggle with even more anxiety and stress if falling behind with his studies. Helping him to get and stay on track can give him one less thing to have anxiety about.
- Find out if there are peer counseling or meeting groups at school that may help your teen connect with other teens and help to reassure him that he’s not the only one who struggles with anxiety.
If your teen would benefit from a hybrid or homeschool solution for his education, you should look into options that may work out for him. It’s vital that your teen feel supported, secure, safe, and heard.
Anxiety can become all-consuming if it is not addressed in the right way. Other mental health issues can soon follow and leave your teen adrift without a way back to what his normalcy should look like.
Your teen will feel so alone as he struggles with anxiety and mental health. Make sure he doesn’t feel alone as he navigates this scary chapter. Speak with other family members and gauge their mental wellness and help them better understand how they can support your teen with anxiety.
Is your teen struggling with anxiety and his mental health? Whether this is a new concern or he’s been facing anxiety for some time, it’s important to get him help as soon as possible. At HelpYourTeenNow we can pair parents with the resources they need to get teens the correct type of help for mental health concerns.