Parents with teenage boys or girls understand the fragility of their self-esteem. One word, no matter how benign, is enough to send them into a hissy fit. Moms and dads tend to put it down to hormones and continue without a second glance. However, sometimes the reason is more profound than puberty. When a teen suffers from an extreme case of anxiety, it can ruin their life. Just walking down the street is enough to get the wheels turning in their head.
As their parent, it is your job to support them through this challenging period. Below are four things you should try to help.
Encourage Them With Words
Everyone knows how useful words are. One nice comment from a stranger or a friend can make your day. Kids are no different. The thing is their peers are emotionally immature and won’t help. So, it is down to you to make sure they feel loved and valued. Saying “I love you” is a start, as is “be safe” or “enjoy your day!” But, the comments which make them feel special are the ones which are specific. Telling them they are talented or gifted is an excellent way to encourage them as it has nothing to do with love. Kids know when their parents use mom and dad logic because they aren’t stupid.
Push Sports Clubs
Now, the prospect of asking them to perform in front of a crowd of people will seem stupid. But, stage fright aside, being a member of a sports club has lots of rewards. To begin with, they will begin to develop self-confidence if they have success. Then, they won’t care about wearing 2-piece doublets and wrestling in front of dozens of people. The physical benefits are clear, but the personal advantages less so. Well, confidence is contagious. Once they feel it in one aspect of their life, it will spread like a disease. Instead of the anxious boy or girl you know, they will bloom into a confident young adult.
Reward Good Behaviour
No, it is not a bribe if you don’t establish a treat is up for grabs beforehand. When kids know there is a treat, they will do whatever to get the reward. Although they did it, their behaviour won’t be a real test of their self-esteem. Rather than tell them about a treat, wait until they build up the courage to act. Getting on the school bus on the first day of term is scary. So, letting them choose dinner when they get home is an excellent compromise.
Let Them Let Go
Anxiety is a build up of emotion which gets worse and worse until it explodes. The key is to release the tension and deal with it healthily. Kids don’t know how to do this because the culture tells them to be narcissistic maniacs. Admitting they are uncool is a hanging offence in a child’s eyes. But, behind closed doors, what they say never leaves the house. Once they know they can talk without repercussions, they will start to let go.
Everyone experiences anxiety, but kids don’t deal with it appropriately. As a parent, it is your responsibility to help.