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How to Deal With a Very Emotional and Anxious Teenager

by Tiffany Raiford, studioD

The teenage years are often full of confusion, questions and big-time emotions -- for you and your teen. As the parent of a teenager, you might find yourself feeling anxious just thinking about your teen’s ever-changing emotions and constant anxiety. It’s normal for you to want to take away her pain and stress and to find her changing moods and overly emotional behavior frustrating. However, the best course of action is simply to learn how to deal with this sometimes tumultuous period of your teen’s life. It will help you and your teen find things a lot less stressful.

Handling Your Teen's Emotions and Anxiety

Introduce your teen to real forms of relaxation, advises Kids Health. His idea of lying on the couch watching a movie or playing on the computer is not really relaxation. By teaching him real forms of relaxation, you can help him deal with his emotions and lessen his anxiety. For example, encouraging him to go for a walk or jog can lower his stress levels, lessen his anxiety and clear his head. Additionally, yoga is another great form of relaxation, as is deep breathing.

Acknowledge her feelings and emotions, advises Dr. Steven Richfield of Healthy Place, a website for mental health information. It’s helpful to tell her that you understand she’s emotional and that it is perfectly normal to feel this way instead of telling her that she’ll get over it, or that it’s a part of life. She needs your support, not your impatience or your criticism. You can help her deal with her emotions far better by letting her know you are there for her than you can by belittling her feelings.

Make sure he is getting plenty of sleep. According to Kids Health, anxiety can seem much worse when your teen is not sleeping enough. Your teen needs at least nine hours of sleep each night to function at his best. You can help him meet this goal by turning off all electronics, encouraging him to finish his homework earlier and encouraging activities that will wind him down before bed, such as reading.

Encourage her to focus on the positives in her life, advises Kids Health. You can’t fix her problems or make her feel better about things all the time, so sometimes you just have to remind her of all she has to be happy about. For example, if she’s suffering from anxiety about a big test she has in a few days, remind her that a week from now she’ll be free from the stress and worries of this test, and she’ll be able to spend more time with her friends or on her favorite hobby.

Consult your teen’s doctor if his anxiety lasts longer than six months or if it begins to turn into fear that stops him from living his life, advises the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. For example, if your teen is usually a fun-loving guy who enjoys going to sporting events and spending time with friends, then he suddenly stops wanting to do those things out of fear, contact his doctor. Additionally, consult your teen’s doctor if you suspect his emotional issues might be something more serious, such as depression. If he starts doing poorly in school, can no longer concentrate, feels sad and down more often than not, has trouble sleeping, experiences a change in eating habits or is no longer motivated to do anything, call the doctor, advises the Family Doctor website.

Coping With Your Teen's Emotions and Anxiety

Remain calm at all times, advises Dr. Steven Richfield, child psychologist and author. As a parent, it’s important that you learn how to deal with your teen’s emotions and anxiety as best you can, and part of that is remaining calm. For example, it might frustrate you or hurt you to see your teen suffering, especially if you don’t understand her reasons, but it’s better for you to remain calm than it is for you to fight with her and make the situation worse.

Stay on top of the problem, advises the Family Doctor. It’s important that you do not ignore the problem, especially if it gets worse rather than better. As a parent, it’s your job to make sure your teen’s emotions and anxiety do not start to take over his life and begin interfering. Let him know you are there to talk if he wants to and don’t force yourself on him, but don’t ignore the problem.

Listen to your teen when she wants to talk to you, advises the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists. For example, if you want to manage your encounters with your teen, make time to listen and take her seriously when she wants to talk to you. Don’t offer advice if she doesn’t ask for it, and don’t belittle her feelings. Instead, tell her you respect her feelings and that if she is open to it, you’d like to help her figure out what could be the cause of her feelings and anxiety.

About the Author

Tiffany Raiford has several years of experience writing freelance. Her writing focuses primarily on articles relating to parenting, pregnancy and travel. Raiford is a graduate of Saint Petersburg College in Florida.

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