6 Ways Awesome Parents Make Their Teens Anxiety & Depression Worse

Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. It’s a common enough phrase, and for good reason. From the moment that little baby is born and to the end of your life you will be raising, worrying, and educating that ball of joy and potential.

6 Ways Awesome Parents Make Their Teens Anxiety & Depression Worse
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When we see our teen in distress, we naturally want to help. However, sometimes, in our attempts to help, no matter how well intentioned, we could actually make things worse.

Help by Not Helping

Teenage anxiety and depression is a dangerous thing, and something that’s been on the rise over the years. Instead of trying to take that weight from them, we need to teach them how to be strong.

1. Give them room to make mistakes.

A part of life and growing up is making mistakes. If you can’t be understanding when they make mistakes, they won’t come to you when they have. It’s our job to guide them through life, and this means both their successes and their failures.

2. Don’t define them by their weak points.

Be sure to spend time focusing on all the things they’re doing right. This builds the confidence needed to tackle the more difficult things.

3. Don’t raise them on a pedestal they can never climb down from.

This is the previous point, but on the other end of the spectrum. Too much pressure on their successes can build a fear of failure. Be complementary when they do well, but don’t let their accomplishments be the only thing you see.

4. Keep your emotions in check.

When they come home, stressed and anxious from a bad day, how we respond speaks volumes. Instead of responding with our own anxiety—which teaches them to be anxious—discuss things, and work out a solution peaceably. Teach them to be strong by being strong for them.

5. Being protective is nice, but give them a chance first.

Mama bear and papa bear rear up at the first sign of wrong-doing toward our little cubs (“little cubs” who are in high school, but regardless). When we jump to their defense, though, say for example confronting their school, we’re teaching them that we don’t think they can take care of it themselves. Talk with them, and let them come up with how to solve the issue. They may just surprise you.

6. Don’t pretend like you don’t have problems.

Don’t stomp around complaining all the time, but also don’t try to act as though nothing is ever wrong. They watch, they see. When there is a problem, it’s a perfect time to discuss it with them and let them see firsthand an adult taking care of things.

We have to be sure we’re not blinded by what we want as parents, but seeing the big picture. All of our actions have far reaching effects, but hopefully understanding the other perspective, we can make better choices in how to encourage them.

Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and freelancer, with experience in writing and outreach for parent and organizations that help troubled teen girls. Tyler has offered humor and research backed advice to readers on parenting tactics, problems in education, issues with social media, mental disorders, addiction, and troublesome issues raising teens. Connect with Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin

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