Coping With Teenage Dilemma: When Anxiety Fuels Insecurity

Does your child feel like everyone is against her? Do you notice that she is continually diminishing herself instead of believing that she can do better? Do you feel like your child is slowly losing her self-confidence and self-esteem?

Your child is most likely experiencing a terrible case of insecurity caused by anxiety.

Trying to reassure our kids, we quickly marshal example after example of their talent and specialness. But the more we tell our self-doubting kids, “You’re wonderful!”, the harder they argue, “I’m terrible!” — Eileen Kennedy-Moore Ph.D.

The Adolescent Life

The stage between puberty until legal adulthood is coined as adolescence. The moment your kids become adolescents is the time when they feel the most vulnerable. Majority of these children feel like they are living under a microscope; that everything they do is judged or criticized. When children are trying to figure out who they are, what they want, and anything in between, that’s the time they feel most fragile and insecure.

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Children at this period will start forming their identities and will try their very best to either follow your footsteps or deviate from it entirely. More so, adolescence is the stage wherein parents go from having a positive, unique connection with their children to a gradual decline in the attachment. Adolescence is also the time when children will have a love-hate relationship with their parents; nevertheless, it is vital that parents see their children through the adolescent period.

By getting a more unobstructed view of what children are going through during adolescence, parents will also have a better understanding of why their teens are most likely to get anxious and insecure about a lot of different issues.

 

Coping And Coaching

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Whenever your child feels insecure, one has to automatically assume that anxiety is getting the best of your child for whatever valid reason. To help your child thrive and survive this phase and more importantly, help them grow out of their fears and insecurities, here are some coping and coaching ideas you can do as parents.

Try to greet them with a smile and hug and avoid the impulse to ask them a million questions about their day. Creating a calm environment where your child can regroup and sit quietly may also be helpful. — Ashley Diehl Ph.D.

  1. Accept That The Feelings Exist

Normalizing the existence of anxiety leading to insecurity should be on top of your “How To Get Rid Of Anxiety” list. By acknowledging that everyone feels fear of the unknown and that it happens due to plentiful reasons, you are assuring your teens that they don’t have to feel bad whenever insecurities crowd their system. The moment your child approaches you with confessions of reasons for being anxious, don’t turn him or her down. Do not make your children think that what they are experiencing does not matter and that they shouldn’t feel that way. Once you have acknowledged your child’s feelings of insecurity and anxiety, it is essential that you respond in a reassuring and supportive kind of way.

 

  1. Don’t Take The Wheel

Just because you’re supportive, doesn’t mean that you have to do everything for your child. It is normal for kids to get confused in making decisions on their own; it’s tough and complicated, but it’s also a massive step for maturity. It’s like teaching your child to drive; while she holds the wheel, walk her through the lesson but don’t take over the responsibility. Remember, you are showing your children valuable lessons in life and downfalls are part of growing into better, highly resilient individuals that can power through challenging obstacles. That being said, always be available to lend a hand if in case your child needs further support.

Establish positive communication by asking your child why he/she feels the need to disagree and ask them to do so in a respectful way. If the matter is non-negotiable, calmly tell your children the topic is not open for a discussion. — Wendy Rice, Psy.D.

  1. Give The Child Space

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Giving your children some breathing room to contemplate on what’s happening to them is invaluable, all the while reassuring your child that things will eventually turn out okay. If your child is going through something, like making up for a failed grade, as much as possible, try not to overreact. Be aware of cues to know when the optimum time is to step in and when it is appropriate to step back. There is a fine line between being hovering and caring.

 

  1. Do Not Invalidate

When your teen says, “I feel so ugly,” do not immediately swoop in and say, “That’s all in your head, you are not ugly,” just to make your kid feel better about himself. Because the reality is, children do have anamorphic body perception during the adolescent period. Aside from what their schoolmates think of them, media plays a massive part in creating a skewed recognition of what beauty is supposed to look like; this adds to further frustration and anxiety. Besides, your teens wouldn’t buy you saying that they look pretty because, for them, parents’ opinions don’t mean anything. Instead, assuring them with positive things and complementing their other features can slowly build self-acceptance in your child.

 

Anxiety is a condition that is prevalent in children going through puberty and entering adulthood. Helping your child cope with his or her anxiety issues is vital in improving school performance and boosting self-worth and self-love.