Dealing with anxiety at any age is challenging. But for a teenage girl, it can be particularly brutal.
If you’ve personally battled anxiety at any point in time in your life, then you know those feelings that can slowly start to creep in and cause your entire mind, heart, and soul to feel as though it’s one edge.
Now, take those feelings that you are having or have had in the past, and imagine those feelings being the same ones that your teenage daughter is experiencing.
Makes it a little bit more relatable when it’s broken down on that level, right?
There can be many reasons why your teen daughter may struggle with anxiety. Identifying the cause or causes for her worries is the more important step, so that you can then determine the best way to be there for her.
Why Your Teen Daughter May Have Anxiety
Understanding why your teen daughter may have anxiety is important and here are some key factors that could be causing those feelings and emotions in her everyday life. Once you’ve identified the source, then you can better address what she is dealing with and how to help her.
Fear of failure
The teenage years can be an extremely stressful time. Not only are they fighting through hormones, emotions, and the daily struggle of being understood, but they are also heavily focused on ensuring their grades and extracurricular activities will position them well for college admissions.
The fear of failing is constantly looming over our children and could very likely be why your teen daughter may have anxiety. It’s a lot of pressure trying to keep track of everything going on in their daily teenage life. They may want to look like they’ve got it under control, because this is a time in their life when they want to prove their independence. They are both afraid of failing and afraid to admit that they’re struggling because that’s just another form of failing in their minds.
Loss of friends
We don’t always want to admit it, but adolescent girls can start to become quite cruel once they enter the middle and high school years. Your teen daughter may be involved with a group of friends where their interpersonal relationships go through many ups and downs.
This is only exacerbated with social media which gives a moment to moment account of all the times your girl may not have been included in other friend’s activities. And it also provides a whole new tool for girls to punish each other when they’re on the “outs.”
If your daughter is dealing with toxic friendships, she could be fearful of losing her “inner circle”, and that uncertainty can become a real source of insecurity and anxiety.
With just that one word, everything changes. Hormones can cause a roller coaster of emotions for your teen daughter on a daily basis. One day, everything may be perfect and the next…? Who really knows and especially not her.
All of this can be scary and confusing for her and she may not fully understand what is happening. When she’s suddenly crying for no reason or having difficulty coping with situations that never use to phase her, she may think there is something really wrong with her.
Plus, hormones in general just dial up emotions and can make what ever she’s going through seem that much more intense.
Inability to Self-Calm
If your teen daughter seems to have heightened anxiety during a lot of different situations, there may be a good chance that she’s never learned how to properly self-calm herself. This is not some kind of failure on your part and is extremely common. We’re not a culture that is very good at teaching our young people about self-care. And it’s part of why as mother’s we struggle with many of these same issues.
Self care is one of the most important lessons we can teach our teens. It also doesn’t hurt to give them some practical tools that can help right in the moment like deep breathing techniques or positive self-talk. Our daughters often just need a few coping skills that they can turn to when they’re feeling anxious and stressed.
Dating is pretty much inevitable once your daughter reaches high school. While some girls get more serious than others, it can become a source of ongoing angst in her life. The complexity of first love can be extremely difficult terrain for most teenage girls to navigate.
Whether your daughter is going through relationship issues or is dealing with a breakup, both situations can create anxiety. It’s all new to her and all these feelings can be overwhelming and confusing.
It’s Not Always Just One Thing
Now here is the hard part, many times it isn’t just one of these reasons causing your daughter to feel anxious, but several of them.
As a parent, it’s important to learn how to recognize all the different contributing factors and then figure out the the best way possible to be there for her. In some cases, she may simply just need you to listen and offer a hug and little sympathy. Other times, it may be better to let her be so she can process things on her own.
Yes, it is okay to give our teens some space so they can struggle and solve their issues independently. That is part of growing-up. But when you feel like things are going beyond just typical teenage troubles, then you may need to sit them down and have a bigger conversation.
And don’t rule out seeking professional help. It takes courage to take this step, and there is no reason for them or you to feel ashamed. Life for teens today isn’t easy and mental health issues among our young people are skyrocketing. Addressing your daughter’s issues early and with the right resources gives her the best chance at a healthy and successful future.