Anxiety is everywhere and can be tough to deal with, especially for teens. Many teenagers often feel alone as a result of anxiety, and it is the parents’ job to help them through those feelings. Being a teenager with anxiety myself has allowed me to realize the things I wish the people around me knew. Nobody is a mind reader, so I wrote down these things that would ultimately “help them help me” overcome my anxiety.
Anxiety in the Classroom
The best way to figure out how to help a child with anxiety at school is to be as understanding as possible. Parents, consider helping your teenager communicate their needs to their teachers. If your teenager has presentation anxiety, you can email or speak to his or her teacher to let them know that presenting is a struggle. It is important to only advocate for your child when necessary because teens do need to grow and become more independent, so they can face difficulties on their own.
It is also important to remember that not all teachers are as considerate as we would like them to be. In order to receive definite school accommodations, you most likely have to formally request them. Every case is different, so even though I received accommodations, it does not mean your child will receive them.
The other way you can help a child with anxiety at school is to evaluate your situation. Decide if your teen’s current school is creating even more anxiety because of the atmosphere, other students, etc. If your teen’s current school is not seeming like it’s a good fit, consider other school options. I went from a private elementary school to a large public middle school. I then moved on to a large public high school. However, my parents and I realized that I needed a different space for school. The atmosphere of the public high school was wrong for me, and the other students there were not good for me either. There were limited service to fit my needs. We made the decision to switch to a small independent study charter school, and I have been doing much better since. My anxiety is there, but it is in check.
Teenage Anxiety Treatments
When I think of teenage anxiety treatments, I think of three main routes. Therapy. Medication. Or Both.
The first route is therapy. Speaking to someone about anxiety lifts a lot off your chest. Your teen may just need someone to confide in. I prefer confiding in someone who is more professional compared to my friends and family. It is my preference, and when I apply the skills that my therapist has helped me develop, I feel more accomplished with my progress.
Teenage anxiety medication is always an option as well. Of course, you would need to take your teen to a psychologist. The psychologist would prescribe the best teenage anxiety medication for your child. You must help your teen stay on schedule. Medication needs consistency and time. It must be monitored. You can absolutely monitor the effects you see from the medication yourself, but make sure to be in constant contact with the doctor who prescribed it. This will help make sure that positive progress is being made.
This is the route I take. I go to therapy once a week to help develop my coping skills, and I take a teenage anxiety medication every day. It took a lot of patience and about 2 years of monitoring work to find the right therapist and medication for me, but it was worth it.
Teenage Anxiety Solutions
Figuring out how to help a teenager with anxiety is truly a maze. Often times, anxiety is accompanied by other mental health challenges including depression. Here are some teenage and anxiety depression solutions.
Engage in Small Talk
When I am extremely anxious, I will rarely talk with anybody in an in-depth topic conversation. It creates more anxiety and depression trying to focus on a conversation of that sort. However, small conversations help me take my mind off the sadness I am currently experiencing. For example, you might ask me how gym class went that day rather than asking me how the whole school day went.
Find an Enjoyable Activity
I enjoy going outside and playing music. I found those small activities, and they became my greatest coping skills. Coping is incredibly important, so helping someone with anxiety and depression find a decent coping skill will greatly benefit them and you.
Be Slightly Spontaneous
My anxiety and depression is far worse when I am anticipating something rather than doing something spontaneously. Inviting someone to a birthday party two weeks in advance may actually create more social anxiety than inviting someone two day before. Eliminate some of the time that is spent thinking and worrying.
These teenage anxiety and depression solutions can be manipulated in many ways, so that they can work more specifically for you and your teen.
As a reminder, everyone is different, but these steps really help the people around me understand me better. Remember that anxiety is a horrible feeling, so try not to get frustrated too easily with a teenager who is facing anxiety. Discipline is very necessary, but be considerate of the feelings and emotions that your teenager is facing.
Learn more about the experiences of teenage anxiety that your teen may be facing by downloading my free eBook!