How To Help Tweens With Anxiety

Parents who have tweens with anxiety want to help them cope with their symptoms so they can lead normal lives. Even if your child is in treatment, you can reinforce what they learn in therapy at home.

Anxiety in tweens and teens is common. “Estimates show 10 to 15 percent of American children are affected by, meet the criteria of, or are diagnosed with, some form of an anxiety disorder.” So parents, you are not alone. You can learn how to help your teen cope with anxiety by research, through support groups, with the help of a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, or guidance counselor.

Tips to Help Your Tween Deal with Anxiety:

  • Encourage Discussions about Worries and Fears – Give your tween time to talk to you about what her concerns are. Don’t disparage or ridicule. Give your full attention, ask questions and assure your tween that any time they need to talk they can come to you.
  • Stick to a Routine – Having a daily schedule is reassuring to anyone with anxiety. Knowing when meals and bedtime are, for example prevents surprises which can throw off a tween or teen with anxiety. A daily chart of each activity can be helpful.
  • Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle – Make nutritious meals and snacks. Be sure your child gets enough sleep. Add some type of physical activity daily. All of these help your tween to cope.
  • Teach and Help with Relaxation Techniques – This may be trial and error until you find what helps your child best. Some examples are deep breathing, visualization, muscle relaxation and listening to relaxation music.
  • Prevent Avoidance – Tweens with anxiety want to avoid the triggers that cause them to worry or even have panic attacks. If panic attacks do occur, you may need to get advice from a mental health specialist first. If not, start with simple tasks or events and work your way up to the more difficult ones. This is known as Systematic Desensitization.
  • Allow Independence – Even though your child may have physical symptoms, like a stomach ache, headaches or feeling shaky, and be extremely emotional, it’s necessary to provide ways for your tween to be independent. Let him speak to his teacher about his test anxiety on his own. Sign him up for group activities.
  • Hide Your Fears – You are probably worried about your anxious child, but do your best to control your fears so her anxiety doesn’t worsen. If you have fears, phobias or a diagnosis of anxiety, get treatment for yourself and use your coping skills.

Worry Quote

My tween daughter has had anxiety since she was an infant. Because of Acquired Long QT Syndrome, she cannot take medication to treat it, so we have been working on behavioral modification techniques with the help of a psychiatrist and therapist. I must admit that it is quite difficult to follow all of these suggestions to a t, but no one is perfect. My husband and I do the best we can to help our tween cope with her severe anxiety. I also am an advocate for children with anxiety so others are educated about this condition.

Do you have any other tips or suggestions?

Reading Suggestion – My Anxious Mind: A Teen’s Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic

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Connie Roberts

Professional Blogger
Living in the Tampa Bay area, I'm lucky enough to see beautiful sunsets almost every day. Although life can be difficult at times, focusing on the positive and being with my family is what gets me through.

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Comments

  1. I wish I had some helpful advice for you, but the only thing we’ve ever found that helps our daughter is just using a low, soothing voice and giving her hugs.
    Jenn wrote this fabulous post..Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffin RecipeMy Profile

  2. These are great tips. My daughter is only 6 but I can already see she might have trouble with anxiety. It runs in the family. I’ll definitely keep these tips in mind in case it does start increase as she gets older.
    Tesa wrote this fabulous post..Grand Rapids ArtPrize ReviewMy Profile

  3. As I’ve been in the schools as a teacher/sub I have been surprised to see students stressed so early in life. Good tips. I hope they help someone.
    Lindsay wrote this fabulous post..Bitsys Brainfood Letter Shaped Cookies ReviewMy Profile

  4. I had a lot of anxiety as a tween and teen, but I’m not sure how my mom could have helped. I had a LOT of social anxiety (I had a few panic attacks as a teenager). I was fine at home, but each day school was a struggle. Strangely, I was fine at theater which I participated in until I was 14.
    I’m a big proponent of systematic desensitization. My husband actually uses that often with his (Air Force) clients who have PTSD.
    Thanks for the great article!
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  5. These are great suggestions for adults too!
    Lisa wrote this fabulous post..Wordless Wednesday: Will Singing His ColorsMy Profile

  6. I’ve had had anxiety as a teen, and it’s hard when you have no one to help you. These are some great tools for parents!
    Hanan wrote this fabulous post..It’s Pumpkin Picking Time…My Profile

  7. Good tips. When my kids would get anxious we would recite Scriptures about God’s peace, protection and love and give our worries to God.
    Cindy wrote this fabulous post..Celebration 30 RecapMy Profile

  8. Great information. It is so important to have ways to cope and support your child when they need help. The tween/ teenage years are tough helps a parent support their children as best they can. Thank you.
    Kerri wrote this fabulous post..Getting the Most out of your Health InsuranceMy Profile

  9. The schedule is SO important here, too. I understand that!
    Becca – Our Crazy Boys wrote this fabulous post..Family Time {Tween/Teen Tuesday Linky}My Profile

  10. I’m not there yet with my own kids. But as a former jr. high & high school teacher, I can definitely attest to the fact that some of them really suffer from anxiety!
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  11. Oh my these tips are handy! THank you for sharing them.
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  12. those are great ideas. many i use on myself.
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