We all know the stereotype. Teens dressed in hoodies with earphones stuck in their eyes blasting loud music without a care in the world. Teens that shrug and don’t give eye contact when being talked to. Strong-willed. Rebellious. Insecure.
Being a teenager is a tough phase that everyone goes through. The transition from childhood to adulthood can be quite awkward and frustrating. Think back to when you were a teenager. It wasn’t easy then. It’s even harder now.
If you feel that your teenager at home is going through some form of teenage angst and anxiety, there are things that you can do to help them out other than seeking help from counselors.
8 Things Parents Can Do to Help Their Teens Cope with Teenage Angst
- Spend uninterrupted time with your teen regularly.
One of the best things any parent can do is to regularly spend time with their children. Allow no distractions or interruptions. Turn off your phone and give your child your full and undivided attention. Even though your teenager is growing up to be more and more independent each day, they still look to you for guidance and comfort.
- Keep calm and chill.
We know how hard it is not to blow your top when dealing with an angsty teenager, but do your best to maintain composure and keep your cool. The added aggression will not pacify things but instead will escalate it. Neutralize the situation by lowering your voice and speaking slowly. Show your child that you are not the enemy.
- Call for a timeout when needed.
We’re not saying put them on timeout. They’re no longer kids so you should stop treating them that way. Talk to them like adults. If you see that your discussion is getting nowhere or it’s getting heated up, agree to talk at a later time when your heads are cooler. Engaging in a heated discussion will only make things worse.
- Listen to your child.
Pay attention to what your child has to say. Just because their issues seem petty compared to yours doesn’t mean you should ignore or belittle them. If these are valid concerns, then treat it with the same sense of urgency you would when dealing with your problems. Listen to them and validate what they’re saying.
- Walk your talk.
It won’t matter even if you give your child the soundest advice from the best psychologists and counselors if you are not walking your talk. Your child needs to see you model the right behavior, especially when you’re dealing with stress and anxiety. Manage your temper and outbursts. Let your teen see you work your way through your issues to provide them a pattern to follow.
- Treat your teen appropriately and not like a baby.
As stated, your child is already transitioning into adulthood. There are certain things that you used to do that will no longer apply or be as effective compared to when they were smaller. Treat them like the maturing adults they are, able to make certain decisions for themselves. Drop the bossy and authoritative tone and speak to them like you would a colleague. Of course, you shouldn’t let them walk all over you. Instead, provide a safe environment for them to speak out whatever’s in their minds and hearts without any fear of judgment or condemnation.
- Set anger boundaries.
While you try to balance maintaining authority as a parent and giving your child freedom for self-expression, you need to be clear that there are still boundaries that need to be observed, especially when it comes to expressions of anger. Let them know it is not okay to throw things at people, belittle them, curse them, or get physically aggressive. If they cross those boundaries, they need to be accountable for their actions so that they learn to deal with the consequences.
- Offer things your teen can do to help them cope with angst.
A lot of teenagers blow up and lash out because they don’t know how to deal with their angst and anger (which are two different things, by the way). Suggest options that they can do as alternative outlets for their outbursts. Exercise, deep-breathing, and journaling are a few ways to help them ease their frustrations.
Going through this phase in their lives can be overwhelming to most teenagers but with the support and unconditional love coming from their parents, it will be much easier for them to deal with it knowing you’re there to walk with them every step of the way.