Anxiety is the most common mental health concern for children and adults. Because anxious teens are often quiet and compliant, they frequently go unnoticed by their parents and teachers.
How can you relieve your child’s anxiety, and help them to be more confident?
Anxiety can emerge in a number of ways. Your child may be clingy or quick to throw tantrums. They may be excessively shy or worry a lot. In extreme cases they may complain of tummy or headaches, or even suffer from panic attacks.
Parents often say that they knew there was something different about their child from a young age, but did not think it was an anxiety problem. Some wait for their child to ‘grow out of it’ and never expect their child to become more debilitated over time.
Parents of anxious children and teens are often confused about what to do, as well as frustrated, and overwhelmed
What you can do
Set a routine - Establish a routine by setting specific times for meals, homework, quiet time, and bedtime. Help your child establish a bedtime routine, which may include a bath and reading a story, or just time to chat. This can set the stage for helping your child develop better ways to manage anxiety.
Reduce stress - Stress or tension in your home can have a negative effect on your child. Set aside a little time each day to do something fun, and try to reduce arguments by holding family meetings.
Encourage independence - it’s tempting to want to do things for your child, but letting them do things by themselves is setting them up for life.
Giving your child their own responsibilities in the home is a great way to help them be more independent.
Take risks - Encourage your child to try some experiments such as making a phone call, talking to an unfamiliar classmate, or asking a question to a shop assistant.
Build self confidence - It’s important to praise your child for his or her accomplishments and for facing their fears. Involve your child in activities that help him or her feel proud such as a sport or youth club.
Getting children involved in an extra curricular activity can also help them to build confidence and self esteem. This may be a sport, playing a musical instrument, dance, drama or art.
Getting them involved in Girl Guides, Boy Scouts or a service club can also help them to develop confidence and gain some independence.
Debating and volunteering are also great activities that help with positive development of children and especially teens.