Is Your Parenting Ratcheting Up Your Teen’s Anxiety?

7 Strategies For Giving Your Teen a Better, More Peaceful Life

Teen anxiety is at an all-time high. How can parents help?

Or at least quit ratcheting up teen anxiety and making it worse?

Some of the root causes of teen anxiety are things parents don’t have much control over—such as our culture’s senseless obsession with elite education, or social media pointing our moral compass in a dangerous direction.

Could just confiscating the teen’s phone be an answer?

No—that won’t work. Today’s tech-savvy teens can have the phone you took away replaced by a Walmart burner phone in under an hour.

How can wise parents relieve teen anxiety in a culture where doctors say that before long, 1 in 3 teens will have a diagnosable anxiety disorder?

1. Let your teen struggle with hard things.

It sounds counterintuitive—but instead of swooping in like a helicopter to save the day when life gets tough for your middle schooler, high schooler, or college student, you could say something like, “Wow. That’s rough. What are you going to do now?”

Or, “Oh, no. That’s so incredibly frustrating. I wonder what resources you could tap into to help with that?”

Then stand back for as long as it takes to see the creative solutions your child comes up with.

teen anxiety

2. Resist the urge to make a smooth, straight road for your kids.

Instead—joy and revel in the reality that every bump and pothole they navigate on their own reduces teen anxiety by building confidence that they can handle adversity on their own.

It’s fascinating to me that one of the most effective medical treatments for anxiety is cognitive‐behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT involves—among other things—increased exposure to feared objects, activities, and situations.

You can accomplish this at home.

Give your teen the space to confront and conquer what she’s nervous about, and you’ll take a giant step toward softening and reducing teen anxiety, without making even one doctor appointment.

3. Let go of the leash of constant texting.

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Teen Constantly Angry? It Could be “Launch Anxiety.”

15-year-old Luke had been in a dark, angry mood all day long, starting from the moment his mother wished him a cheerful, “Good morning!” and set hot scrambled eggs and a fresh hot caramel roll in front of him at the breakfast table.

Luke ate in broody silence, and his mother felt momentarily thankful for the quiet. If Luke could just get off to school without a screaming mood swing and slamming doors, today would be a good day.

Luke’s mom looked at him chewing the buttery, drippy carmel roll. His eyes were flat, his face devoid of appreciation or joy. She felt anxiety rise in her own chest, but then rationalized it away. “It’s probably just hormones,” she told herself, “and there’s nothing I can do about that.”

Actually, it’s probably not “just hormones.” It’s more likely “launch anxiety,” which is something you can help with more than you realize.

depressed boy blog photo canva

Rather than hormones, your teen’s dark moods, depression symptoms, mood swings, blunted, flat emotional responses, and hair-trigger anger are far more likely to be linked to a psychological condition called “launch anxiety.” The good news? Keep reading. There’s a lot parents can do to alleviate “launch anxiety” and help teens to feel better.

What is “launch anxiety”?

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