Our Ever Changing Teens, Part 1
This is the first of a two-part blog on teens and change. Read Part 2.
Have you hit the teen years with your child and wondered what happened to your carefree kid? Well, don’t fear, you are not alone. The teen years are hard and your child is going through a lot of changes. Not only physically but academically and socially too. It is no wonder the teen years are often filled with anxiety.
Being a teen is hard because they want more freedom but often feel they aren’t being given enough of it, but at the same time they are clinging to parts of their childhood. No matter how much they may say they want more freedom they still need their parents/guardians more than ever. With more responsibility and freedom come greater temptations and the pressure to fit in becomes more and more intense.
One thing that can be quite common among teens is problems with anxiety. According to the National Institutes of Health, one in three teens will experience an anxiety disorder and sadly this number is on the rise. What’s more, hospital admissions for suicidal teenagers have doubled in the last decade. Sometimes your child may not even be able to tell you why they are anxious. It is important to remember that there may be many factors playing a role, such as hormones that changing and transitioning to middle school and high school.
Why is anxiety on the rise?
- Increased expectations to succeed. We have created a culture where we place so much emphasis on success and comparison that the pressure on your youth has been amplified. Whether it is standardized testing or pressure from parents to be the best, we don’t allow down time. Society pushes kids to be in multiple sports, clubs and activities all while keeping their grades up so they can get into college.
- Our world seems scarier. We hear about mass shooting almost weekly, kids now have to practice active shooter drills and sadly some children may have already experienced an active school lock-down. In addition children are faced with environmental concerns that threaten their future which they learn about at school or on the news. It is hard not be anxious.
- Social media is everywhere. Teens are connected more than ever before. It used to be a kid could go home and disconnect but not anymore. Bullies may follow them home in the form of Facebook, Twitter, etc. Another problem with social media is it creates a false sense of perfectionism. Lives always seem fascinating and amazing in the realm of Facebook and Instagram.
Anxiety can rear its ugly head in many ways. It is important to catch anxiety early as it can lead to more severe problems such as depression, substance abuse and even suicide. So what can you look for so you can catch it early?
In Our Ever Changing Teens, Part 2, we’ll consider the indicators of anxiety in teens as well as methods to help them cope.
By Beth Lucht, Family Life Educator, Women’s and Children’s Community Outreach Education, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center,