Being a teenager is one of the most challenging phases of life. It’s the period where one transitions into adulthood and as a result of that, a lot of hormones kick in. That, and many other things need a lot of getting used to. Unfortunately, not all teens are built to withstand the pressure and would sometimes crumble under the pressure. That’s where some even get to the point of developing teen angst.
What does ‘teen angst’ mean?
For those who don’t know, teen angst is best described, in layman terms, as dread or worry that seemingly comes out of nowhere. We all know – because we went through it – those teenage years are awash with a lot of self-esteem issues. These insecurities almost always make the teen question their worth and that brings a lot of apprehensions.
What does an angsty teenager look like?
As a parent to a teenager, you need to understand the signs of angst so that you can find a solution before the condition worsens. Some of the signs of teenage angst include the following:
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Lack of motivation
- Agitation (or restlessness
- Shifting appetite (might be eating less or more than usual)
- Crying outbursts or tearfulness, especially over trivial matters they’d normally just shrug off.
- General loss of interest, especially in things or activities they once held dear
As a parent, it might be quite a daunting task talking about these things because teenagers are extremely sensitive. That said, you need to find a gentle approach. If your teen isn’t comfortable with opening up, then I would strongly suggest that you give them space. Many cases of teenage angst will resolve themselves. But, in case it doesn’t, then that ought to be your cue to seek professional help.
Why does teen angst happen in the first place?
Teenage angst has a plethora of causes. First, we need to understand that a teenager’s brain is still in development up until the age of 11 (in girls) and 14 (in boys). But, just because their brains have reached full development (in size) doesn’t mean they have all the skills to make it in life. If anything, that’s right about that time that the harsh realities of life start to kick in.
That said, teenage angst might come as a result of peer pressure, bullying, body shaming, etc. social media has also contributed a great deal as far as teenage angst is concerned thanks to the unhealthy comparison of lifestyles. Therefore, parents need to start teaching their kids about the challenges they’ll face early in life. That way, they’ll be prepared to face anything.
Is there special help for a teen suffering from severe angst?
It’s important for parents to understand that it’s only a stage in life but to be proactive in helping their child cope. Parents can achieve that by always reminding their teens of their strong points. Sometimes telling the teen how brilliant they are or how beautiful they look when they clean up can help boost their morale.
Parents can also do their best to discipline the teens without overreacting. Overeating and name-calling can only start the teen down a terrible path. And if your teen is already suffering from teenage angst, then overreacting and name-calling can only exacerbate the situation. If you are a parent who just can’t get their temper in check and has a knack for lashing out at his or her teens, then it’s probably time to seek help yourself.
In cases of extreme teenage angst, I would strongly recommend that you seek professional help, preferably from a registered shrink. Believe it or not, teenage angst is a form of mental disorder that needs to be taken with the seriousness it deserves. Some teens’ve committed suicide because of it. That’s how serious extreme angst can be.
Once your teen has been taken to a professional, he or she will be examined and a proper diagnosis will be given. The professional will also check to see if any underlying medical conditions are manifesting as angst. From there, you can get a therapist to work with your teen. Most importantly, always be there to offer unconditional love and support whenever your teen needs it.
How can teens cope with angst?
There’re a few ways in which you as the parent can help your teen cope with angst. First, you’ll need to learn all you can about the symptoms as I mentioned earlier. Doing so goes a long way in identifying the problem early so that you can have it sorted out as soon as possible. Some of the ways you can help your teen cope with angst include the following:
- Make time for your teens so that they’re constantly reminding that they aren’t alone in their struggles.
- Learn to give your teens space so that they can learn to solve their problems and only intervene when they’re losing the battle.
- Instead of telling your teen what to do, ask if there’s anything you can do to help. That shows you respect, trust, and have confidence in them.