Among the many issues facing modern teens, anxiety seems to be the most prominent.
A 2019 university study found that anxiety is the most devastating mental health problem experienced by young people.
Why is anxiety so prevalent among students? First of all, it’s important to define what we mean when we say “anxiety.”
In my experience, anxiety is the fear of unknown future events.
Running under such a paradigm means we don’t have the skills to respond to future events.
Nothing stimulates the amygdala like a potential unknown threat.As the years have passed, I have come to realize that the past is not just something we remember, it helps us understand the present, and more importantly, it helps us understand the present.
Predict the future accurately.
This is a very important insight when it comes to alleviating your child’s anxiety. If you have never experienced a moment of overcoming a challenge or adversity, your reservoir of coping skills will be depleted.
In other words, we shouldn’t solve all of our children’s problems when they come to us.
The question I’ve asked parents over the years is whose needs are you serving when you rush to solve your child’s problems?
Of course, we all want to be the protagonists in our children’s lives, but when we don’t allow them to problem-solve, we often rob them of their ability to cope.
Think about it this way…Is it better for a child to think, “I solved that problem myself” or “my parents solved that problem for me?”
Our own childhood experiences don’t deviate much from our parenting strategies. If we feel like we didn’t have enough support early on, we may over-parent in an attempt to improve that early experience.
So when children come to us with problems, we have to listen and remain calm. Don’t try to solve it too quickly. Asking questions is far more empowering to children than solving problems.
I conducted extensive research while writing my book in 2018. Screener parenting. I was trying to understand teenagers and their device usage, as well as explore their level of resilience.
What I discovered was surprising, but not surprising. Resilient teens talked about challenges as temporary and understood that adversity comes and goes, whereas less resilient students talked about challenges as temporary and understood that adversity comes and goes, whereas less resilient students talked about challenges as temporary and understood that adversity comes and goes. selectively abstracted it into a whole or a gestalt.
For example, if you miss a penalty in a soccer match, they will interpret it to mean that you are bad at soccer.
They have a quarrel with a friend – “No one likes me!”
Remember, some children are not born resilient, others are born less resilient. they learn it. They learn how to talk to themselves in a more optimistic and positive way.
It’s all a matter of perspective, but how do children gain the perspective that they have the skills to deal with unknown future events? Their past experiences.
Resilience does not mean being resistant to stress, it simply means that you have learned how to manage your response to stress.
Of course, the fake health machines on social media tell children the opposite.
They are constantly bombarded with messages that they should always feel good and do whatever makes them happy.
Nothing is more antithetical to getting rid of long-term anxiety.
I ask the young people I work with that on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 is not feeling well and 10 is feeling well. Where are you on that scale?
Most often they say they are between 4 and 7 years old. I say, “That’s great.” I can see them looking at me in surprise. They expected me to always think they should be higher.
I tell them, “It’s okay.” Most of us are just fine from day to day.
I can feel the relief when I tell them that. The pressure goes away from them.
Our children are constantly surrounded by distressing news.
Teachers often scare children by trying to be climate change advocates.
We must be careful how we talk to children about climate change. It’s important to make them feel like they can play a productive role in the solution without threatening their lives or making them feel hopeless about the future.
A 10-year-old told me this recently. In any case, the Earth will soon perish! ”
In my experience, I believe that giving students too much negative information about promoting mental health can end up endorsing their mental health issues.
Children are incredibly susceptible to suggestion, so putting a minor celebrity in front of them and having them talk about their experiences with self-harm makes them question the value of that experience for them.
What do they learn from it? Schools must ask speakers, “What will children learn after your talk?”
If you can’t answer that, you’re useless in front of your child. We all feel anxious from time to time.
When you help children develop the tools and skills for the future, you empower them to thrive in life.