Epi #30: Teens’ Common Fears & How to Emotionally Support ThemOct 18, 2022
Teens’ Common Fears & How to Emotionally Support Them
Hey there, Cycle Breakers! In keeping with the spirit of Halloween this month, we’re continuing our fears-based theme in today’s episode. We’re discussing common issues that cause tweens/teens distress & how to emotionally support them through it all to help set them up for success as young adults. From fitting in to modeling how to make a doctor’s appointment, we’ve covered all bases.
Fear of Peer Pressure:
It’s very important for teens to fit in, so they feel accepted by their peers. They’re also trying to find their identity, so it’s common for them to experiment with their look. For example, they may go through an all-black phase, where they only wear black or cut/grow out their hair.
It isn’t our job to shape their identity; instead, we should comfort, encourage and be a safe space for them while they discover who they are. Don’t try “fixing” it, lecturing them, or giving them unsolicited feedback. Respect their individuality, including their ideas, beliefs, & how they choose to express themselves (obviously, as long as it’s safe) just as you would an adult’s.
Allow them to show up in the world as their truest, most comfortable selves.Also, show genuine, non-judgmental interest in what they do, their thought processes, etc.
Fear of Moving Out:
Lots of teens feel anxious or fearful about being completely independent and self-sufficient, but we can ease them into this transition by modeling important life skills. As part of one of my foster teen’s therapeutic care, I received training in how to facilitate this by using an “I do, we do, you do” model. For example, I’d take him grocery shopping with me and he’d observe.
In subsequent trips, I got him more involved by asking him to help me choose things that were within our budget. We did this a few times before he finally went into the grocery store by himself and did all the shopping (sticking to a budget), while I waited for him in the parking lot. I didn’t even tell him what to buy for dinner, all I did was give him the cash, and he successfully took it from there. We also followed this process for back-to-school shopping and making his own doctor’s appointments.
Something to consider about all of this is that trust is a very important element for it to work well. Accept and release control; don’t micromanage. By showing that you trust in their capabilities, it boosts their confidence, and they begin to trust more in themselves, as well. Also, competency in these skills will become a source of intrinsic motivation for them to get their daily tasks done without yelling, threats, and punishments providing negative reinforcement for them to get it done just for the sake of avoiding negative consequences.*
If you’re looking for more ways to better connect with your teen, we invite you to join our in-house Tween/Teen Parenting Coach & Pediatric Psychologist, Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart’s LIVE, FREE masterclass, The Roadmap to End the Struggle Between Parents & Tweens/Teens. It’s on Zoom THIS FRIDAY, October 21st, 2022, at 7pm EST! She’ll share her guidance on repairing & restoring the parent/teen relationship, so that struggles end & peace prevails. Click the link below to register for this enlightening event!
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