Ahh, those tricky tween years. It’s a developmental stage where your kid is no longer a baby but not quite a teen. It can be a challenging time for parents as you loosen the reigns (just a bit) and for your child as they navigate new experiences. It’s also a time when emotional or social difficulties begin. As a parent, it’s hard to know what’s typical behavior versus something of concern.
Mental health professionals see an increase in anxiety in tweens. Anxiety is at an all-time high with the pandemic, social distancing, and remote learning. It often goes unaddressed because parents struggle with recognizing the signs, and sometimes a tween is confused about what’s troubling them.
Here are five signs that your tween may be struggling with anxiety:
1. They are grumpier than usual. Teens go through many emotional upheavals, and it’s completely normal. However, anxiety can intensify the irritability.
2. Changes in sleep pattern is also a possible indication of anxiety. Anxiety can be exhausting and scary. Your child might retreat to sleeping more because then they don’t have to feel uncomfortable. Conversely, they might experience difficulty sleeping. Because anxiety causes physical symptoms—rapid heartbeat, restlessness, racing mind, falling asleep can be challenging.
3. Experimenting with mind-altering substances like alcohol or marijuana. People with anxiety don’t’ want to feel it. They often seek out ways to numb themselves and avoid the symptoms of anxiety. As you might imagine, this can lead to undesirable outcomes.
4. People who anxiety often have physical complaints that doctors aren’t able to find a cause. Usually, the complaints are vague, like headaches, stomach aches, or just generally not feeling well. Again, because anxiety causes physical symptoms, the person will sometimes mistake anxiety for catastrophic health issues such as heart attack, stroke, and cancer.
5. There is a family history of anxiety. Anxiety often runs in families. If a parent has anxiety, there’s a higher chance their child will too.
Anxiety is often a lifelong struggle; however, people can learn to manage it, so it doesn’t negatively impact their life. They can learn strategies to stop anxiety in its tracks.
If you’re concerned that your tween has anxiety, call us for a thorough evaluation. We are also starting a group for children, so they don’t feel alone. Group therapy can be beneficial because the attendees can support each other and share how they cope in healthy ways. The group will be hosted virtually, making it more comfortable for your tween. They will learn why they have anxiety and breathing techniques (there’s a reason this is important). They will also learn how to challenge negative thoughts that often lead to anxious feelings. As a parent, we know you might sometimes feel helpless as your child struggles. Perhaps you feel guilty or like you gave this to your child. Those feelings are normal, but there is help. Call us to get your child evaluated. We feel confident we can help. 302-292-1334 x101. You can also go to our group page and complete the necessary paperwork. Someone will call you back to get you connected with the best therapist to help your family. Click here—https://thecenterforchilddevelopment.com/services/groups/