PINPOINTING TEENAGE ANXIETY

Last year, the New York Times published a report on why “more American teenagers than every [are] suffering from severe anxiety.” Not long after that report was released, a therapist gave her response on Psychology Today.

*In giving reasons for modern teenage anxiety, psychology Amy Morin created a checklist for several reasons why teenagers are suffering from anxiety today. One reason is “some young people are overachieving perfectionists with a crippling fear of failure. Others worry so much about what their peers think of them that they’re unable to function.”

*And many have cited how electronics have created “an unhealthy escape.” Being constantly stimulated lets teenagers “escape uncomfortable emotions like boredom, loneliness, or sadness…and now we’re seeing what happens when an entire generation has spent their childhoods avoiding discomfort. Their electronics replaced opportunities to develop mental strength, and they didn’t gain the coping skills they need to handle everyday challenges.”

*Teens can also have unrealistic expectations about being happy. “Kids grow up believing that if they don’t feel happy around the clock, something must be wrong. They don’t understand that it’s normal and healthy to feel sad, frustrated, guilty, disappointed, and angry sometimes too.”

*And other problems in the family can include “adults don’t know how to help kids face their fears the right way,” either by pushing their kids too hard or not pushing them at all. And with so much emphasis on getting the right education, Morin feels that a lot of kids are not learning the right emotional skills. “In fact, a national survey of first-year college students revealed that 60 percent feel emotionally unprepared for college life.”

*By identifying these problems, we can go a long way in helping teenagers, troubled youth, and young adults get help with their emotions. There’s always more to consider, but these points are certainly a good start.