Can you anxiety-proof your teen? Probably not completely, but you can teach your teen the necessary and important life skills for navigating anxious feelings that are bound to crop up. If your teen begins to show signs of persistent anxiousness, don’t panic; this is your opportunity to spark an ongoing discussion about mood management. Have a talk with your child while you take a walk outdoors or go for a drive together. Without making a huge, dramatic deal about it, revisit the topic of managing emotional ups and downs frequently, so your child understands they can and will learn to navigate challenging emotions (see sidebar for when to seek help).
These days, some children are out of the house nearly every night of the week for extracurricular activities. For many years, I have worked with children and families as a resource coordinator and mentor. When parents come to me with academic or behavioral concerns regarding their children, I quickly ask the parents what their children are involved in after school. If the list is long, my advice is usually to scale back and see if things turn around.
Everyone has to deal with feelings of anger and frustration. While these feelings are normal, it is important to teach kids how to appropriately deal with them. Parents and kids can work as a team to come up with strategies to handle anger and frustration. Working together to prepare a plan in advance will help your child learn how to calm down and discuss why these feelings occurred. Once your child finds a calm-down technique that works best for them, encourage them to use that strategy whenever they start to feel upset or angry.
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