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From Concern To Causation: How To Avoid Contributing To Your Teenager's Anxiety And Get Them The Help They Need

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As the parent of a teenager, you probably face a number of obstacles, perhaps even on a daily basis. If your teen has anxiety, though, the obstacles you, the teen, and the whole family must face take on a completely different level of intensity. Anxiety ranges from mild to debilitating, but no matter the degree your family is dealing with, you must, as a parent, make sure your concern doesn't translate into any causation. 

Don't Underreact To The Problem

If simply wishing could make a problem go away, your child would be free from the grip of anxiety, but since that doesn't work, you (and the entire family) must work hard at not ignoring the problem. Pretending everything is okay or thinking this is a phase your child will simply outgrow is not the right approach since anxiety is a complex and serious issue your child may have to deal with for the rest of their life. Even if it is something they'll get over in the near future, they're very likely going to need professional help to do it, along with your support.

Don't Overreact To The Problem

Parents who overreact to their child's angst and fears aren't helping the cause, either. Don't blow everything out of proportion or assume your child has a severe condition that requires drastic action such as medication. Try to keep things in perspective, by staying calm and seeking the advice of your family pediatrician or a young adult counselor.

Accept The Anxiety As A Condition, Not A Behavior

Sometimes parents confuse real anxiety with behavioral problems, especially in the teenage years. A kid that doesn't want to go to school may simply be afraid of a calculus test or want a few hours of extra sleep, but they could be feeling the burden of real anxieties. If you know your child has anxiety, work to separate the symptoms of it from everyday, teenage conduct. Also, ask your child to make an effort with known behavioral problems so you can all, as a family, separate real symptoms (of the anxiety) from typical teenage attitudes. If you're left to take your child at their word for it when you're uncertain if an issue is a behavior or anxiety, give them the benefit of the doubt.

Let Your Teen See A Counselor By Themselves

Counseling can be very beneficial to teenagers and not just those with serious and/or persistent problems. Getting through these years is, after all, very challenging, even under optimum conditions. Find a family therapist your teen is comfortable talking to, then let them meet without anyone else around. Your child may feel more comfortable speaking in private and the counselor will gain more helpful insight. At times, the therapy will likely include the whole family, so rest assured that you'll be able to participate in the helping and healing process as a parent.

Get started today with a resource like socal family services.