Being a teenager is far from easy; they undergo a profound physical and psychological transformation in a very short period of time. Naturally, those changes are difficult to navigate. New hormones bring mood swings and short tempers. On top of that, school becomes more challenging, academically and socially.

These are rough waters for anyone to navigate — especially someone who’s still learning who they are and how to exist in the world. Accordingly, it’s not only natural, but common, for teens to experience anxiety during this time. Here are four ways you can help.


father and teen son in parkIt’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of communication. Your teen is at an integral point in their development where they may not know how to talk to you about the challenges they’re facing. In some cases, they may feel embarrassed or ashamed of themselves. In other circumstances, they may not want to worry you or risk conflict with you.

Here are some key steps you can take to make sure you’re fostering healthy communication between yourself and your teen:

  • Validation: Give your teen space to talk; listen to them without trying to solve their problems. Acknowledge their feelings without dismissing or minimizing them. Oftentimes our anxious inner voice gets worse when we try to silence it — so it’s important to give them a safe space to vent.
  • Vulnerability: This one can be difficult, but it’s important. Let your teen know that you struggle with the same feelings at times. Consider sharing times you felt anxious or insecure at work or with your own friends. Being vulnerable with your teen lets them know it’s okay to worry — and it’s a way of respecting their blossoming adulthood by respecting them as a peer.


As our children grow into teens, it can be difficult to give them the room they need to grow. It’s important to give them space to explore and establish their own identity. Empower your teen to make their own choices, but let them know that you’re there if they need you. Anxiety feeds on uncertainty and insecurity. Giving them the opportunity to take risks and accomplish tasks on their own can help build self-confidence.

Model Self-Care

Would it surprise you to learn that self-care is a skill that needs to be taught? It’s also one that most of us have to learn the hard way. Of course, there are the basics — brushing your teeth every night and getting a good night’s rest — but as adults, we recognize that self-care goes deeper. One way you can teach your teen self-care is by modeling it.

Adopt some household structures and routines that you stick to, without placing demands on them. This means having routines around meals, bedtimes, screen time, and so forth. If you’re limiting their screen time and then disappearing to the bedroom to binge a few hours of reality TV or Netflix, there’s no way your teen isn’t going to want to do the same thing.

Acknowledge Limitations

It can be tempting to push our teens to be the very best version of themselves they can be. Sometimes, we do so to the detriment of their mental health. If your teen is struggling with academic anxiety, it’s important to acknowledge that they may be stretching themselves thin.

Think about what it means to acknowledge your own limitations. Sometimes that means pulling back from commitments, other times it means protecting your mental health by taking a day off or playing hooky. Acknowledging our limitations doesn’t make us a failure; it’s one of the ways we take care of ourselves.


If your teen is struggling with anxiety, consider scheduling a free consultation. Navigating anxiety isn’t easy, but with the right counseling, your teen can learn tools and techniques they can use to process and manage those feelings. There’s no need for you to do this on your own; we’re here to help. Reach out to learn more about teen therapy.

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