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Anxiety counselling for teens – how to help them manage it

How can anxiety counselling for teens help and how do teens generally deal with anxiety? We can all feel anxious, especially when faced with unfamiliar, dangerous or stressful situations. Anxiety can feel different for each person, some feelings can range from butterflies in your stomach to your heart racing. It is a completely normal reaction to challenging situations and is very common in the teenage years.

So why is this? As teenagers grow and develop they have new experiences, opportunities and challenges. They want more independence and their brains develop. These changes affect their thinking and behaviour for example, starting secondary school can be a really big worry for some teenagers, trying settle into a new routine, making new friends, taking exams. As they become more independent, teenagers might worry about being responsible for their own actions and being able to get a job when they leave school.

Feeling anxious is part of the normal range of emotions, just like any other human emotions such as feeling angry. For most teenagers, anxiety doesn’t last and goes away on its own. But for some teenagers it doesn’t go away or is so intense it that it stops them from doing everyday things.

Helping your Teenager manage Anxiety

If your teenager is feeling anxious, the best way to help them manage it is to firstly let them know that it’s completely normal to feel anxious sometimes. Reassuring your teenager that this anxious feeling will go away in time, and that it shouldn’t stop them from doing what they need to do, like going to school, spending time with their friends, enjoying their hobbies.

Acknowledge your teenager’s fear, don’t dismiss or ignore it. It’s really important for your teenager to feel that you take them seriously and that you believe they can overcome their fears. They also need to know that you’ll be there to support them.

Gently encourage your teenager to do the things they feel anxious about. But don’t push them to face situations they don’t want to face.

Help your teenager set really small goals for things that they feel a little anxious about and encourage them to try and achieve those goals, but don’t step in too early or take control. Your teenager might be anxious about performing in front of others. As a first step, you could suggest your teenager practises their lines in front of the family in order to build their confidence.

Try not to make a fuss if your teenager avoids a situation because of anxiety. Tell your teenager that you believe they will be able to manage their feelings in the future by taking step by step. Try to acknowledge all the steps that your teenager takes, no matter how small those steps are.

If you think your teenager needs help dealing with their anxiety, seek professional help as early as possible. You might feel uncomfortable talking to your teenager about anxiety or other mental health issues but by talking about anxiety with your teenager, you give them permission to talk to you. Your teenager also needs your help to get professional support.

If you have any questions about teen or young adult anxiety or feel your family needs anxiety counselling for teens, please get in touch with Nirm. 

Hello to Therapy offers face to face counselling and psychotherapy services for a wide range of issues which includes anxiety and depression in the Northamptonshire area. For more information please navigate my website or visit Nirm’s BACP profile.