10 Reasons Teens Have So Much Anxiety Today

Posted on : 04 Apr 2019 | No Comments

Teen Anxiety is on the rise.

It should come as no surprise to us that an estimated 31.9% of adolescents have an anxiety disorder. We aren’t equipping our adolescents to become emotionally mature and resilient AND they’re being surrounded by increasing pressures. The great news is that there are things we can do to help fight teen and child anxiety, but we need to know some of the issues increasing anxiety in our teens. Psychologist, Amy Morin, outlines these 10 reasons teen anxiety is so high on Psychology Today.

 

1. Electronics offer an unhealthy escape

Constant access to digital devices lets kids escape uncomfortable emotions like boredom, loneliness, or sadness by immersing themselves in games when they are in the car or by chatting on social media when they are sent to their rooms.

2. Happiness is all the rage

Happiness is emphasized so much in our culture that some parents think it’s their job to make their kids happy all the time. When a child is sad, his parents cheer him up. Or when she’s angry, they calm her down.

Kids grow up believing that if they don’t feel happy around the clock, something must be wrong. That creates a lot of inner turmoil. They don’t understand that it’s normal and healthy to feel sad, frustrated, guilty, disappointed, and angry sometimes, too.

3. Parents are giving unrealistic praise

Saying things like, “You’re the fastest runner on the team,” or “You’re the smartest kid in your grade,” doesn’t build self-esteem. Instead, it puts pressure on kids to live up to those labels. That can lead to crippling fear of failure or rejection.

4. Parents are getting caught up in the rat race 

Many parents have become like personal assistants to their teenagers. They work hard to ensure their teens can compete: They hire tutors and private sports coaches and pay for expensive SAT prep courses. They make it their job to help their teens build transcripts that will impress a top school. And they send the message that their teen must excel at everything in order to land a coveted spot at such a college.

5. Kids aren’t learning emotional skills

We emphasize academic preparation and put little effort into teaching kids the emotional skills they need to succeed. In fact, a national survey of first-year college students revealed that 60 percent feel emotionally unprepared for college life.

Knowing how to manage your time, combat stress, and take care of your feelings are key components to living a good life. Without healthy coping skills, it’s no wonder teens are feeling anxious over everyday hassles.

6. Parents view themselves as protectors rather than guides 

Somewhere along the line, many parents began believing their role is to help kids grow up with as few emotional and physical scars as possible. They became so overprotective that their kids never practiced dealing with challenges on their own. Consequently, these kids have grown up to believe they’re too fragile to cope with the realities of life.

7. Adults don’t know to help kids face their fears the right way 

At one end of the spectrum, you’ll find parents who push their kids too hard. They force their children to do things that terrify them. On the other end, you’ll find parents who don’t push kids at all. They let their kids opt out of anything that sounds anxiety-provoking.

Exposure is the best way to conquer fear but only when it’s done incrementally. Without practice, gentle nudging, and guidance, kids never gain confidence that they can face their fears head-on.

8. Parents are parenting out of guilt and fear

Parenting stirs up uncomfortable emotions, like guilt and fear. But rather than let themselves feel those emotions, many parents are changing their parenting habits. So they don’t let their kids out of their sight because it stirs up their anxiety, or they feel so guilty saying no to their kids that they back down and give in. Consequently, they teach their kids that uncomfortable emotions are intolerable.

9. Kids aren’t being given enough free time to play 

While organized sports and clubs play an important role in kids’ lives, adults make and enforce the rules. Unstructured play teaches kids vital skills, like how to manage disagreements without an adult refereeing. And solitary play teaches kids how to be alone with their thoughts and comfortable in their own skin.

10. Family hierarchies are out of whack

Although kids give the impression that they’d like to be in charge, deep down they know they aren’t capable of making good decisions. They want their parents to be leaders—even when there is dissension in the ranks. And when the hierarchy gets muddled—or even flipped upside down—their anxiety skyrockets.

 

Download our infographic to share with the teens and parents in your life to help break the cycle.

 

You can also call our Brain Health Experts to learn more about how helping the brain can decrease anxiety, looping thoughts, and stuck patterns. You or your teen can achieve peace and serenity even in the face of today’s chaotic world. Call us today at 844.732.5966, our Brain Health experts are standing by.

Sources:

PsychologyToday.com

NIMH.NIH.GOV

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