As certain societal norms and expectations shift, the amount of anxiety teens face increases. The pressure to be perfect, the fear of failure, and the constant concern of how they appear in the eyes of their peers are all anxiety-inducing stressors that are incorporated into young people’s lives.
Psychology Today outlines 10 reasons anxiety has increased in teens:
- Electronics provide an unhealthy way to fill time. Using games or social media to avoid boredom or sadness does not give a young person the ability to learn to cope in these situations.
- Happiness is always the goal. Parents strive to have their children happy. In response, when a kid feels down, the kid feels like it is not normal to feel that way.
- Parents give unrealistic praise to children. Pushing a child to believe they are the best creates pressures that can be unattainable.
- Parents put too much pressure on teens. From SAT courses, to multiple sports, to private tutors, parents ingrain in young people’s minds that staying busy and being the best is the only way to be successful or get into college.
- Young people are not learning how to manage their emotions. In light of all the pressures to succeed, kids aren’t being taught how to manage stress which makes them ill-prepared for when stressors like college come into their lives.
- Parents feel the need to protect rather than guide, which leads to overprotectiveness and the belief that the kid cannot manage life on their own.
- Not learning to face their fears. If something causes anxiety, frequently parents will not expose their kid to whatever is causing the fear. In reality exposure is a vital coping strategy.
- Parents use their own anxieties to affect the way they raise their children. Feeling guilty by saying no to a child and giving in or not letting a child go to something because it makes the parent nervous can affect how the child views discomfort.
- Too much structure in a young person’s life limits the amount of free time they have to think, be creative, and manage things on their own.
- Kids want to be led by their parents, but in a way that is healthy and influential; not controlling.
Photo via @OFCSSuper – Angst at Olmsted Falls
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