Do you prefer to listen to content? Tune in to the podcast episode HERE!
Understanding the 6 Most Common Fears of Teenagers
Teenagers face a multitude of fears that can impact their daily lives and overall well-being. Here are six of the most common fears that teens experience:
1. Fear of Failure: Academic, social, emotional, and physical pressures can make teens feel like they need to excel in all areas. They may fear not meeting expectations or feeling like they are constantly falling short.
2. Fear of Change or the Unknown: Adolescence is a time of transition and uncertainty. Teens may feel overwhelmed by the unknown and fear the potential outcomes of their future.
3. Fear of Letting People Down: Teens strive to meet the expectations of their parents, teachers, friends, and themselves. They fear disappointing others and may feel immense pressure to achieve in various aspects of their lives.
4. Fear of Rejection: Belonging and acceptance are crucial for teenagers. They fear being rejected by their peers and may go to great lengths to fit in and avoid social isolation.
5. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Teens have a strong desire to be involved and feel included. They fear missing out on experiences and opportunities that their peers are participating in.
6. Fear of Embarrassment: Teenagers are highly conscious of their social status and fear anything that could jeopardize their reputation. They dread being laughed at or alienated from their social circles.
Five Key Steps to Support Your Anxious Teen
As a parent, it can be challenging to know how to help your anxious teen navigate their fears. Here are five key steps you can take to support them:
1. Empathy: Show Understanding and Care
Your teen needs to know that you understand their fears and that what they are experiencing is normal. Empathy is crucial in deepening your connection with your teen and making them feel less alone. Avoid sympathy, which can make them feel weaker, and instead show compassion and understanding.
Your teen doesn't need you to fix the issue. They need to know that you understand. They need to know that you've actually been there too... Showing empathy means they don't feel so alone.
2. Communication: Keep the Dialogue Open
Open communication is essential for your teen to feel comfortable sharing their fears and vulnerabilities. By sharing your own experiences and uncertainties, you can encourage them to open up and feel hopeful about overcoming their fears.
Keep the communication lines open as much as you can... When you can open up about similar experiences you've had, similar uncertainties, similar emotions, it gets a dialogue going so your teen can feel more comfortable about sharing their own feelings.
>>>> If you would like more help on connecting & communicating with your teen, listen to the podcast episode HERE!
3. Lean Into the Fear: Encourage Growth
Instead of avoiding or distracting themselves from their fears, encourage your teen to lean into them. Help them see fear as an opportunity for growth and expansion of their comfort zone.
Start with yourself by learning to lean in to your own fears. Perhaps begin this process by really noticing any fears that you have around your teen's anxiety and how you yourself are responding to this. Are you worried, panicked, over-fussing or reactive?
If you are carrying a lot of fear or worry about what your teen is experiencing and are responding in such a way, this WILL energetically transfer to them and can serve to confirm and deepen their anxiety.
So by becoming aware of your own fears and learning how to best regulate your own emotions around this means you can more authentically encourage your teen to actually lean into the fears they are experiencing, to examine what exactly those fears are, why they might be there... and then work together to lessen or dispel them.
4. Involve Your Teen: Empower Them to Find Solutions
Involve your teen in the process of overcoming their fears. Ask for their ideas on how they think they can move forward and let them take more responsibility for their progression.
Start with small steps and gradually help them to ease themselves into situations that may make them anxious; being there as a steady support as they do so. Encourage them to take baby steps towards a bigger goal, with you by their side.
Empowering them to find their own solutions and to go at their own pace puts them back in control. It allows them to monitor their own progress without feeling pressurised and then stretch at a rate that is good for them.
5. Become Curious: Challenge Negative Thoughts
Encourage your teen to look at their thoughts around what they're scared of and not to judge themselves for it, but to look at the fear with a curiosity lens... If your teen can change or even just be aware of the thought patterns, then over time they can get more control over how they can feel in certain situations.
Help your teen to examine their thoughts around their fears, to challenge those negative thought patterns, find alternative perspectives and introduce the concept of personal mantras or affirmations to shift their mindset.
>>>> For more support on helping your teen re-frame negative thought patterns, check out my previous blog post:
The Impact of Supporting Your Anxious Teen
By following these five key steps, you can make a significant difference in helping your anxious teen navigate their fears. Empathy, communication, leaning into fear, involving your teen, and challenging negative thoughts can empower them to overcome their fears and build resilience.
Supporting your teen in this way can have a profound impact on their overall well-being and future success. It helps them develop coping mechanisms, build self-confidence, and learn to navigate challenging situations.
Conclusion: A Future of Thriving Teens
As parents, it is our responsibility to provide a safe and supportive environment for our anxious teens. By understanding their fears, communicating openly, and empowering them to face their fears, we can help them thrive.
Remember to check your own fears around your teen's anxiety and trust in your teen's ability to overcome their challenges. With consistent support and encouragement, your teen can develop the skills and resilience needed to navigate their fears and live a fulfilling life.
Let's continue to turn the tide and create a future where all teens can thrive. Together, we can make a difference.
What To Do Next?
Join the growing community of parents who are turning the tide on their teen's anxiety! Sign up to the mailing list and become a one in a million mum to receive practical strategies and ongoing support. Together we can do this!
And check out THE podcast for parents of anxious teens - Your Teen, Anxiety and You.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational & educational purposes and is not intended to replace medical advice. The use of this information is at the reader's discretion and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a physician, psychotherapist or other qualified professional, diagnosis or treatment.