Photo via Pixabay by KHeinz
Adolescent anxiety can strike at a pretty young age, although it can be difficult to discern in a child who can’t express his emotions enough to tell you what’s going on. It can cause physical distress, depression, and mood swings that sometimes look like something else, meaning the anxiety goes undiagnosed. If your child has recently begun experiencing these changes--or if he’s been diagnosed with anxiety--and your family is about to undergo a big change, it’s important to know some ways to help minimize the triggers and help your child learn to cope with those feelings.
Often, kids don’t experience anxiety until they hit puberty; all those hormones and changes can cause quite an uproar mentally, emotionally, and physically. However, big changes such as a move, switching schools or teachers, a divorce, or a death in the family can lead to feelings of anxiety that may be expressed as anger or sadness.
One of the first steps in helping your child is to make sure he feels supported. Let him know that anxiety is common, even in young people, and that there are many ways you can work together to figure out how to deal with those feelings when they arrive.
Here are a few of the best ways to do just that.
Hire a tutor
If your child’s anxiety is triggered by school and his ability to perform well, consider hiring a tutor to help him get through the classes. Many kids feel enormous pressure to do well on tests and keep their grades up, but changes--such as starting a new school, changing classes, or beginning a new school year--can cause disruptions. A tutor will help your child build up his confidence and find new ways to learn and retain information.
Depending on what sort of change your family is going through--death, divorce--it may be beneficial to you and your child to consider therapy or counseling. Often, these types of events can leave unanswered questions, feelings of guilt, and a lingering feeling of sadness that gets pushed away rather than dealt with. Do some research to see if you can find a counselor--perhaps even one at your child’s school--or therapist who will work with your family.
Help him take care of himself
Practicing self-care is essential when one is coping with anxiety, so help your child find the best ways to feel better in a healthy way. Daily exercise, a well-balanced diet, adequate rest, and downtime are a few of the most important things he can do to help himself feel good and relax. You can also help by having him reduce things like caffeine intake and screen-time, which can interfere with good sleep.
Learn coping skills
It’s imperative that your child learns various coping skills to help him deal with his feelings no matter where he is. These can include meditation, listening to calming music, making sure to have snacks handy so hunger isn’t an issue, doing breathing exercises, and learning to accept that he cannot control everything. Meditation can be a big help, as it allows an individual to learn to focus on the present moment rather than the past or future.
Try to stay patient with your child as both of you learn to cope with his feelings of anxiety. Often, they are manifested as other emotions, and it can be a confusing time for a child. Help him learn the best ways to deal with his feelings even when you’re not around, and keep the conversation open so he feels comfortable coming to you with any problem.
Guest Post by Noah Smith: Noah conquered his anxiety battles as a child. Today, he conquers places in his travel adventures. He tries to take one big trip each year. Noah writes for WellnessVoyager and enjoys offering his travel expertise to readers.