Photo courtesy of Pixabay by kheinz
When we think of anxiety disorders, we typically picture adult men and women. However, the fact is that many children also struggle with anxiety disorders. Adolescent anxiety is much more common than many people realize. In fact, an estimated one in eight children have adolescent anxiety disorders.
Despite being so surprisingly common, the sad truth is that the majority of children never receive proper treatment for their anxiety. This is a shame, because anxiety disorders among children and adolescents typically respond well to treatment.
Do you believe your child might have an anxiety disorder? Or has your child already been diagnosed with one? If you answered "yes" to either of those questions, the good news is that there are many ways you can help your child cope with their adolescent anxiety.
Although each child and each family situation is different, here are some simple tips you can start incorporating into your home environment today to hopefully reduce levels of stress and anxiety:
Experts say anxious children do best in an environment that is calm yet organized. This environment not only reduces stress and anxiety, but also boosts your child's sense of confidence, comfort and safety. Use positive word choices, a friendly tone and the logic of reason to build a stable and supportive home environment for your child. Loud noises should be minimized. Avoid making threats or using fear as a means for punishment.
Anxious children also do better when they feel supported by their parents. Ideally, your child will know they can turn to you with their fears and can count on you to help them during stressful situations. Remember: nagging, scolding or shaming is not only frustrating to your child; these behaviors from parents, teachers and other adults can actually increase your child's anxiety levels.
Talk to Your Child
One thing that can help you support your child is by simply taking the time to talk to him or her about anything going on in their lives. This does not mean you will try to pry information out of your child, but just take the time to ask questions and see if there is anything potentially stressful happening at school, within their friendships, or with any other relationships in their lives. Lend an ear, be a shoulder to cry on (if needed) and let your child know you are there to help in any way you can. This will let your child know he or she is not alone - and having your support can lift a lot of weight off your child's shoulders.
These are just a few basic ways you can immediately begin helping your children cope with life's daily stresses. Why not teach these techniques to the whole family? This can be a healthy bonding activity that you do together, and model for your child. There will be a learning curve, so your gentle reminders to simply pause and breathe can prove unbelievably helpful - especially while your child is just beginning to learn coping skills for stress and anxiety.
As parents, we try to create supportive home environments for our children. No parent wants to see their child stressed, and this is definitely true for parents of anxious children. If you suspect your child might have anxiety, the stress management techniques listed above could help reduce their anxiety levels.