Written by Micah Xu, Converge multimedia journalism intern and Junior at Gwinnett School of Math, Science & Technology (GSMST)
Many teenagers today are expected by their parents to go and graduate from college, and that kind of pressure can become stress and anxiety about college around their junior or senior year of high school. This issue is especially compacted when they do not worry about it until their senior year, causing them to have the pressure of college and time hanging over their heads. This results in unwise spending, rash decision making and an overall decrease in quality of life for the teenager in question. A solution to this concern is simply talking with them. Talking with a teenager about their future can be hard but helping them find a career they can stick to and that they are interested in will help them when it comes to that life-changing choice.
- Impressing their Friends
It is no secret that many teenagers care a lot about their friends and try to be “cool”, often doing whatever their friends want to do. This is natural but can cause a lot of stress to a teen if they believe that they are letting down their friends by not doing something as well as their friends do, or otherwise failing their friends. A solution to this issue is simply talking to them about it, and although they may be dismissive or somewhat rude at times, they will indubitably care and appreciate the concern.
- Missing Out
Teens often worry about “missing out” on things that are going on around them, such as events with their friends or an opportunity to prove themselves. This can cause an undue amount of stress and concern in a teen’s mind because they do not want to “lose their best years” as it were, since they might never get to do it again. This problem can be remedied by ensuring that the events that they go to are good for them and that they have a good time, so they do not feel as if anybody is hindering them or otherwise “hurting” them by not allowing them to go to certain events.
- Losing or Getting Outcompeted
Teens often have a sense of competition to them innately, and this can be a good thing if it is developed in a healthy way. Teenagers that are overly competitive can feel “cheated” if they lose at anything, whether that be a science competition, a basketball or football game or even an online competitive game. This can develop into an unhealthy compulsion to win at any cost, which can in turn develop into obsession or unsavory behavior. This can be remedied by trying to help the teen see that they do have talents and abilities outside of what they believe to be their only talent, and that they should branch out a bit to see if they can “win” at other things.
- Failing their Parents
As surprising as it is, many teens are concerned about failing their parents or guardians. Many teens act dismissive or rude to their parents, but somewhere deep inside of their heart, they care. They want to become adults, and that means moving away from their parents emotionally, but they are also afraid of what comes next in their life, which can cause a lot of anxiety. Just trying to show the teen in question that they are loved and cared for despite what they may believe goes a long way when trying to reduce their levels of anxiety, and they will thank you in the future.
Many teenagers, due to their age and hormones, can form romantic and strong platonic relationships with their peers when they aren’t ready for it, and that can cause them to be incredibly stressed out when things do not go very well for them. Whether it be a painful breakup or falling out with a friend or the emotional rollercoaster that is a bad date, it can make a teen worry about impressing or being good enough for their partner. This can be addressed by talking to them about healthy relationship habits and avoiding the subject of getting a romantic partner, as that can indirectly pressure them.
- Bad Grades
Many teens worry about their grades and passing their classes, though they may not worry about it outwardly. Many teens lie about their grades to their parents and guardians because they are afraid of failing them, and oftentimes this means that they do not get the instructional help they need to succeed in their courses. It can also encourage cheating and dishonest behavior. This can be addressed by gently nudging them in the right direction and asking them what sort of subjects they are doing and if they do not understand anything is a good start. Establish that it is always okay to ask questions and that it does not make them stupid or inadequate, and then try to help them through whatever they are struggling in and encourage them to speak to their teachers about subjects that trouble them.
A surprising number of teens worry about whether or not they will be able to drive and obtain their permit or license. Many of these teens worry that they will lose focus on the road or be unable to get their license because they repeatedly fail the test for it. It can also be compounded by the pressure to learn how to drive as soon as possible so that they do not have to be picked up by anyone. This fear can be remedied by encouraging the teen to take instructional classes or otherwise seek help to assist them with their driving tests.
- Growing Up and Getting Responsibility
Growing up and gaining responsibility in the wider world can be horrifying from a teenager’s perspective. It can be incredibly difficult for a teenager to grow up from their small, isolated world and become a part of the wider world with new people and experiences and places. This fear can be remedied by simply supporting them. Talking to them, ensuring that they are ready and prepared to do things like pay taxes and bills or present their ideas to a group of people. Support, coupled with knowledge about the challenges ahead, will help them along their life’s path, and it is comforting to know that there is someone looking out for them.
- Meeting New People
Many teenagers have some level of social anxiety when it comes to meeting new people, which can cause them to clam up or otherwise “shut down” in conversation or cause them to stumble over their words, which will compound the issue. Many teenagers can be self-conscious about the way they sound or the way they talk, and this self-consciousness can be amplified by having people there to listen to them. In order to remedy this, try helping the teenager get situated in a place they are comfortable in and have them meet the new people one at a time, which can help alleviate the stress that comes from meeting large groups of people.