8 Things Kids Deal With in Their Teens and Early 20s That Lead to Stress and Anxiety
By – Jul 19, 2018
If we’re being honest, our kids are a bit anxious these days. Like all generations before them, they have grown up seeing the war in Iraq, known as the Iraq War, and hearing about 9/11 while growing up. We’ve even seen the occasional terrorist attack while growing up and developing a heightened fear for our safety. It’s no wonder why the concern in our kids’ minds has increased. And yet, sometimes it feels like the world is going off the rails and we all have a huge sense of helplessness.
When it comes to stressing kids out and making them anxious, it’s a good thing that things get a little weird when we step back and put things in perspective. This can be helpful in dealing with any stressors in children’s lives and also it can work wonders if we wish to work towards eliminating anything that might make your children anxious and stress-sensitive. And while you might be thinking “All kids are just like that, right?” the number of children that are actually experiencing stress and anxiety are some pretty surprising things that can result in a growing feeling of helplessness.
Kids in Their mid-teens can get anxious about …everything
It’s not just first graders that deal with a lot of anxiety. There are a lot of instances where kids can get anxiety about quite a lot of things. One thing that kids deal with in their teens and early 20s is self-esteem. Back in childhood, life is relatively carefree, and kids aren’t as concerned about what other people think. But now the world has changed and bullying is much more prevalent in schools. For instance, kids are finding out that a person their age can do something that is almost frightening. This can turn a seemingly happy kid into being slightly anxious about what could happen. There are always outside forces and events coming our way and that can have an impact on kids.
There is also the usual date conflict with high school that can lead to some anxiety. For many, getting pregnant, getting married, moving to a new place or even losing a parent can all be stressful and even making them anxious for life. It can lead to situations where kids are really focused on or obsessed with something and can get them stressed. For example, studies have shown that kids who have ADHD can be over-focused on trying to succeed or go the extra mile and need stress relief. So one day we’re struggling to keep up with our homework and the next minute something big is going to break.
Kids are dealing with social media
Kids are so different from other generations, and how they socialize might seem relatively new and unusual to us adults. If anything, they are not as high-maintenance as their parents. This has some negative consequences. For instance, kids tend to be drawn to friends of the same age. So when their friend is the senior at the school and has more money, status, makeup, contacts, and a whole other range of options available to them, the child ends up focusing more on those things that are more appealing to them. They get inspired to act like their friends. Kids also need to be able to exercise at some point and tend to be more comfortable at the gym or center by nature.
All of this can lead to kids becoming overly dependent and caring more about that outside influence. As a result, they may not be able to focus their attention properly when dealing with schoolwork or taking tests in school. This can be a real problem because kids’ attention span might be shorter than their friend’s. It can lead to being distracted and stressed out.
Although it isn’t a huge list, there are a lot of things that kids deal with in their teens and early 20s that can lead to stress and anxiety in them. There are a few different things to think about when considering steps you might take to have a happier and more relaxed child. And the number one thing is to have a good conversation with your child and discuss any concerns they might have. Before you jump into negative thoughts about how their current life is going to turn out or about how your life might change in the future, it would be helpful if you listened to them and found a solution together.
This article was written by Ki Sung, the Asia-Pacific editor of Family Wellness.
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