How Parents Can Help Their Teen with Anxiety at Home

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Many parents may feel unqualified or overwhelmed when it comes to helping their teen with an anxiety disorder. However, it’s important for these parents to remember that their son or daughter is relying on them to provide them with the help they need to thrive once again.

There are several steps parents can take to help their teen with anxiety, which include:

  • Pay attention to your teen’s feelings
  • Stay calm when your teen becomes anxious
  • Recognize and praise small accomplishments
  • Don’t excessively punish mistakes or lack of progress
  • Be flexible and try to maintain a normal routine
  • Modify expectations during stressful periods
  • Allow extra time for transitions
  • Encourage participation in activities you teen excels at
  • Find jobs for your teen so they can contribute to the family
  • Let your teen learn to do things on their own

It’s important that you have the same expectations of your anxious teen that you would of another teen such as attending parties, making decisions, and talking to adults. Parents must have realistic expectations and understand the teen’s pace will be slower in meeting this end goal.

You can help your child as they approach an overwhelming task or event by breaking it down into smaller steps that your teen feels they can accomplish. Tools such as role-play can help your teen adjust and respond better to certain situations. Throughout this process, it’s important to praise your teen for facing challenges, trying something new, or displaying brave behavior.

Remember that it is okay to let your teen experience some anxiety. Your teen needs to know that anxiety is not dangerous but something he or she can cope with. When your teen experiences anxiety, you can let your teen know those feelings are okay. This is critical as oftentimes teens have a hard time expressing strong emotions like anger or sadness because they are afraid parents and peers will be angry with them for having these feelings.

Parents who have reasonable expectations of their teen and who set clear and consistent limits for behavior along with love and acceptance tend to have the most competent and happy teens.