How Can I Help My Anxious Teen?

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How Can I Help My Anxious Teen?

To help your teen cope with a stressful situation, avoid jumping into fix-it mode.

First, validate your teen’s concerns and perspective.

You could say, “That sounds like a tough spot,” or, “I can see why you’re worried.”

Be prepared to listen – voicing anxiety is often enough to bring relief and pause the loop of worried thoughts in the brain.

To move forward, it’s helpful to name the problem.

The source of anxiety is often buried under secondary stressors. Ask open-ended questions to identify the primary stressor.

Naming the problem can also help redirect energy from the emotional brain to the thinking brain. Then, coach your teen in broadening their perspective.

Talk through the best-case, worst-case, and most likely outcome of the dilemma.

You can also reflect on the impact the outcome may have in one day, one week, one month, and one year.

This can decrease the pressure on the present moment, and challenge the belief that the worst outcome is inevitable.

Watch other videos in this Psych in 60 series for more parenting tips and leave your questions in the comments below!

Click here for more content by Elise Howell, LPCA!

Elise Howell, LPCA
Elise's passion is to collaborate with teen girls and their families in navigating the unpredictable years of adolescence, and supporting women in cultivating healthy relationships with their whole selves. She engages with clients' strengths to help clients process their stories, build skills to move them towards their goals, and reconnect with what’s most important to them in life. When she is not watching classic romantic comedies, Elise enjoys kayaking, hiking, and beach days with her husband. She loves all things Harry Potter and musical theater.

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