Vicki, we've had a lot of parents asking us how to help a teenager with anxiety.
So, let's jump into that today. We've done a number of videos about anxiety and
what causes it. The short version, your brain loves you. It's true. -It's true. -Your
brain does not want you to be in danger or to experience any kind of threat
because well that wouldn't be good for your brain. -Right. -And so it tries to take
care of you. And the way that it does that is through the fight-or-flight response.
This fight-or-flight response is what we subjectively experience as anxiety.
It's where the feelings come from. This is a normal thing that your brain does.
And it happens to everybody. Kids, teenagers, adults, everybody has this
mechanism built-in. -Right. -So, maybe the first thing is let's normalize the
experience a little bit. -Yeah. We need to open up the lines of communication with
our teenager and help them see that this is pretty normal. There's a lot of people
who are dealing with anxiety. A lot of the times people feel really isolated.
"I'm the only one that this is affecting". -Yes. -I mean today, I even had a 5th grader
who was pulled out of school because of the anxiety has become too difficult to
go to school right now. -You know, when they get to my office, usually mom or dad
drags them in here, kicking and screaming. Anyway, when they get to my office, they
feel weird. -Yeah. -They feel a little crazy. -And different than everybody else.
-Everybody experiences anxiety. -You know and I think that's really key is to help
them understand that everybody has anxiety. They deal with it at some
point or another. Now, the way that they may deal with it or may react to it is
different. But help your teenagers see that it's normal to feel some anxiety at
times. -There's a lot of things that you can do for self-care. -Yes. -In fact, we did
a video about self-care for anxiety. you can link to it right up here in this
corner of the screen. Cue that up because that will be good for you to watch as a
parent. But this is also one that you can share with
your teenager. We're trying to help normalize the experience but also I like
to give people kind of the owner's manual to operate the equipment. We have
this amazing brain that is functioning exactly as it's designed to do. When we
understand how it works it puts us in a higher level of control and choice over
that process. -As I mentioned before, we really want to keep the lines of
communication open with our teenagers. Remember, they really want to be heard.
They are adults in blossom and they want to know that what they're going through
and what they're thinking and feeling is validated and real. They want to know
that you know it's real for them. -Vicki, what you're saying here is really key
because developmentally speaking, this is a really important phase when teenagers
are making a transition from childhood to adulthood. And they really want to be
treated more like adults. You can facilitate this by keeping those
lines of communication open. Like you're saying Vicki. And to have a high level
conversation with them. I think for you to say, "Oh, yeah. I get it.
Wow. So, that's what you're experiencing." So, show some empathy. Connect with them
and then you'll be in a position where you can introduce some of these other
resources. Like the video I just shared. -And I think it's important... Sometimes you
might have to introduce some new vocabulary to them to help them talk
about what they're feeling. -Right. -You know, talk about what's going on inside
them help them put the words to it. If that's where they're at. If they're ready
for that kind of coaching and helping. -You know, that's interesting that you
mentioned that, Vicki. Because one of our friends John Skidmore is a psychologist
who focuses on performance. He's just coming out with this new book which I'm
excited to see. But John teaches that instead of the word "anxiety"... Now remember,
this is in the context of performance anxiety. So, if your child is a dancer or in
the band or performer of some kind, the word that he uses is "activated". -Okay.
Explain that a little bit. -Now, isn't that interesting? Because instead of labeling
this feeling that I have as anxiety, which is a reason to not do something, I
label it as activation which is the fuel to do something. -Okay. -And you'll feel
this. Notice when you have something big coming up. Let's say that you have an
interview at work or that you have to speak for a community group or your
church or something's coming up, okay? And you feel something, don't you? If you call
that anxiety, you might be... And it is, okay? I'm not saying that that's wrong. But if
you call it anxiety, you might be more likely to avoid that thing. What if we
call it activation. So, your body is preparing you to do the thing that
you're anticipating. -Right. -As parents, we often want to give advice to our kids.
With anxiety, there's a little bit of a dilemma here. Because they're already
feeling activated. They're already feeling the the energy, those feelings that come
with anxiety. And if you jump in and say, "Well honey, you really need to... Or you
should.." -Yeah. -What does that do to you when I say that? Do you notice that?
It just gives you a little twinge of, "Argh! I'm behind I'm not doing what I should
be doing. This person's trying to give me advice." -Increases that anxious feeling. -It
can. So, we're going to caution you about giving advice unless it specifically
asked for. And you know what? This is a pretty good rule of parenting anyway
because unsolicited advice is hardly ever heeded. So, let's just back up
from the advice giving. -Yeah. We're talking about opening communication and
we're not going to advice. So, one of the things we're going to do is really focus
on the resilience of the child versus rescuing them or helping them get out of
a situation. But find the places that they stuck with something and point that
out and maybe help them explore how they felt. I love the way that you just put
that. Resilience. Rather than rescuing. Look what rescuing
does. Let's just chase that down the psychological rabbit hole for a minute,
okay? When you rescue your child, what message are you sending? -|I don't think
you can handle it." -"I don't think you can handle this". Which is the core belief
behind almost every fear. Dr. Susan Jeffers pointed this out in her book
"Feel the fear and do it anyway". I love that title. The title is probably better
than the whole book. But she also identified in that book this common
belief that's at the root of every fear or anxiety. And that belief is "I can't
handle it." -So, we don't want to be validating that idea in heads.
So, we want to talk about the resilience of the things that they have done or
either in the past or that they're doing even as they're going... You know, really
there's just keeping going. There's going to be something in their day that they're
doing this resilient. -Yes. So, there's plenty of examples that you can build on.
I love this topic because resilience... Actually, it's kind of a buzzword right
now. -Yeah. It is. a-A I apply for speaking engagements and things. A lot of times
what they're looking for is helping their employees or their association
members with resilience. Because life is hard.
Have you noticed? Even that begs a question. Hard compared to what? Right?
We're making a judgment about that. But really when hard things happen, one of
the most adaptive skills that we can develop is resilience. The ability to
just keep moving forward in the face of the challenges that are sure to come.
Parenting is a challenge anyway. And when you add teenagers to the mix, that kind
of changes the game, right? We've got your back on this. We have put together this
amazing group coaching program for parents. Where you want to start is in a
discovery call. This is a free opportunity for you to have a
breakthrough call with one of our certified coaches. Go to the description
below DrPaulJenkins.com/breakthroughcall. Go click
on that and it will take you right to our scheduling calendar.
Not a sales page. Scheduling calendar. Let's get you on a call with one of our