Adolescence is often the time when long term issues with anxiety and depression can become more intense and isolating for our kids. Brand new experiences, the changes in their social circles and increased academic pressures can all too often expose our teens to insecurity and unfamiliar doubt.
As parents, our intense focus on academic excellence, and our desire to help them with the increasingly complex problems they face, can often backfire by adding to their inner turmoil. Sometimes, we need to remember to step back, self-reflect, and perhaps even remove the stifling pressure of a worried parent and focus on the teens’ successes. Exploring how all the family members handle failure and mistakes can be a very beneficial exercise.
Research has shown again and again — how we deal with anxiety, as parents, and role model it to our offspring, significantly impacts how our children view the world.
When is something good enough? How do you move on to our next goal of emotional maturation and growth? What does your say and do about when a member of the family makes mistakes?
Now may be the time to notice and improve your own attitude towards handling mistakes, maybe sprinkling the family conversation with phrases that normalize mess-ups, struggles, and shortcomings.
Finally, teenagers also need to hear that they aren’t expected to know everything, that we can’t see into the future, and that worrying about all the issues of teenage life is perfectly normal. There is so much more life, and the great adventures of life, to come.