Teenage years are likely the hardest years for children growing up. They have moved out of their “childish” ways and now have to deal with an entirely different set of anxieties and fears. For most teenagers, the fear of failure or not being socially accepted can weigh heavily on their minds. If not careful, fear can completely immobilize your teen, causing them to close themselves off from trying new things or meeting new people. Your role as a parent is very important. Helping a teenager deal with social acceptance is a lot harder than telling your five year old about monsters under the bed. This is a small guide to help you in helping your teens:
Talk About It
Teens become very distant and standoffish. As their parent, it is important for you to talk to them about any fears they might be having. When your teen opens up to you, be sure that you listen to everything that they have to say. They deal with a lot in their day to day lives, and sometimes, as parents, all they need from you is to know that you care and understand their fear. If you have examples from your life of how you were fearful of something as a teenager, this is the perfect time to share this information with them so they can relate.
Lead by Example
Sometimes actions speak a lot louder than words. If your teen is fearful of something, why not try to show them how you get through a fear of your own? Sharing this with them will make them feel better and not so alone in their fears. For instance, maybe you’re not the biggest “socialite” yourself and you have fears of rejection. When you’re out with your teen, make a point to speak to people, no matter what their response might be. If they see you are not afraid of rejection, they will learn that they will come out of it fine.
Don’t Force It
As much as parents wish they could take away all fears and accomplish all challenges for their children, they can’t. Sometimes you have to let your teen learn a lesson or face a fear on their own. As teenagers, you can’t hold their hand and walk them into school without embarrassing them. While they have to learn on their own, you should keep in mind that you cannot force their progress. All you can do is be there as a guide.
Dealing with fear is hard as an adult, which means that it seems catastrophic for a teenager. Keep talking to your child about their challenges and let them know that you are on their side no matter what the outcome might be.