We all experience some level of anxiety but for 1 out of every 8 kids it is a serious struggle. An uneasy feeling in their stomach on the way to school. A pounding heartbeat as they sit down for an exam. Sweaty hands when they’re asked to speak up in front of their peers.
What can parents do to help teens cope with anxiety?
This week on the podcast I got some incredible insights from Karen Young. Karen spent years working as a therapist and helping families and individuals cope with anxiety. Now she runs the immensely popular website, www.heysigmund.com, where her articles have been read by millions of parents and teenagers around the world.
Karen said that we need to start by listening to our teens and not trying to convince them that they will be OK or that their feelings are “no big deal”. Then we should teach them about why they are feeling anxious by explaining how anxiety works.
Finally, we can help teens learn strategies for coping with the anxiety.
This sequence is crucial, Karen stressed. Don’t start offering solutions until you have given teens information. They need to know why the solutions work.
In this episode Karen lays out exactly how to do this with a teen in your life.
Enjoy the 20-minute version of this episode. If you want to hear the full interview, you will need a STANDARD membership or higher. Click here for more information about our membership options.
About Karen Young
Founder of the popular psychology website Hey Sigmund and author of the humorous and insightful children’s book Hey Warrior, Karen Young has worked as a psychologist in private practice, a consultant in organisational settings, and a lecturer.
Karen is a regular contributor to Parenting Magazine in New Zealand and her articles have been translated into a number of languages and published on various international sites including The Good Men Project, The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Yahoo Health.
She has two children and two stepchildren and lives in Australia.
For more about helping teens with anxiety, check out this great article on Karen’s website.