From time to time, we all experience various levels of stress and anxiety – and the same goes for our children.
A certain amount of fear and anxiety is to be expected during childhood and adolescence. Children and teens will occasionally have their own unique insecurities, stresses about school, nervousness about first dates, and so much more.
Although some level of stress is to be expected at any stage of life, if your child’s anxiety persists for a longer amount of time, you should take note. If your child seems to be fearful or even begins to avoid certain situations, there’s a chance he or she might have more chronic adolescent anxiety.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental and emotional health issues experienced by adults and children. In fact, adolescent anxiety is surprisingly common, and manifests in unique ways for each child.
“Adolescent anxiety” is an umbrella term which can include a variety of conditions including chronic (long-term) anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), specific phobias, depression, and much more.
Does your child have anxiety? If so, don’t worry; it doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent nor does it mean anything is “wrong” with your child. Adolescent anxiety is fairly common, and responds well to treatment. Sadly, experts believe a staggering 60 to 80 percent of children with anxiety never receive proper treatment.
There’s no reason for any child to ever suffer in silence. Rather than allowing your child to become overwhelmed by stress or anxiety, there are some techniques you can easily implement to help your child get proper treatment.
Here are a few ways to help reduce childhood anxiety:
Yoga promotes overall health, well-being and calmness among adults – and the same is true for children. You’re never too young to begin a yoga practice. In fact, most cities now offer yoga classes for children. Many times, children’s yoga classes are available at a free or discounted rate. Can’t find a kid-friendly yoga studio in your area? You can use online services like YogaGlo and YouTube to practice yoga with your child in the comfort of your own home. This is a relaxing activity for both parents and children!
It can be difficult for children with anxiety to control their emotions. As much as they might try, the fears, stresses, worries and negative emotions will occasionally still get the best of them. This is where a meditation practice can help. It’s never too early to start teaching your child to meditate. If you don’t already have a meditation practice yourself, this can be a rewarding activity you can learn to do together as a family.
Avoid Nagging, Scolding or Shaming
Nagging. Scolding. Shaming. These are more than just “annoying Mom” behaviors. In addition to frustrating your child, they can actually increase anxiety levels. This is especially true of anxious children, who are frequently afraid of getting into trouble anyway. You can choose your words carefully, soften your tone of voice and be supportive to help ease anxiety.
If you’ve tried all the methods listed above and your child still isn’t finding any relief from his or her anxieties, worries and stress levels, it can become a difficult situation for the entire family. When all else fails, you might want to consider whether it’s time to reach out to someone else for help. From counselors to therapists to pediatricians, there are many highly trained and experienced professionals who may be able to assist with easing your child’s adolescent anxiety.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay by juandpaola