Common Fears That Arise During Adolescence

October 1, 2018
Adolescence is a stage in a person's life that comes with immense challenges. Among those challenges is that of overcoming common fears and living with them.

What are the most common fears that arise during adolescence? How can we help our children face and overcome them?

Adolescence isn’t a simple stage, despite the undeniably beautiful experiences it offers. During this time period, individuals experience physical, hormonal, psychological and social changes.

As a result, there are many common fears that arise during adolescence. In fact, they’re something that all young people must face.

Between the ages of 12 and 20 something (the age limit has extended during recent years), teenagers face a new mentality: that of no longer being children. The first challenge that comes with this new mentality is that of adapting to the physical and psychological changes that occur.

At the same time, teens begin a process of independence from their parents. This often involves rejecting their parents in public – especially in front of their peers.

This attitude usually goes hand in hand with the desire to belong to a peer group. Tied in with this come identity problems and fear of rejection.

Without a doubt, this is an almost uncontrollable combination of sensations that every teen must experience and face. 

Common fears that arise during adolescence

In reality, the most common fears that arise during adolescence aren’t very different from those that we face as adults. We experience fear of rejection, failure, loneliness, love, and others. What does differ is the context within which these emotions develop.

During adolescence, we have our whole lives ahead of use. This realization fills teens and young adults with hopes and possibilities. But, at the same time, it brings a great deal of uncertainty.

However, as we grow older, some of these issues go away or get resolved. At the same time, our emotional stability increases and our brains can focus on the next objective.

Once we understand these differences, we can comprehend why adolescence is a period of transition and doubt. Adolescents question everyone and everything and, as a result, they may experience the following common fears:

Fear of frustration

This occurs, for the most part, because many parents spend their lives trying to protect their children from any discomfort.

As a result, children grow up with an almost permanent sense of comfort and satisfaction. However, when they grow up and have to face real difficulties, they’re unprepared to face frustration.

Developing the ability to tolerate frustration and overcome adversity is a key part of a person’s development. If this part of a child’s education is omitted, it can affect his or her future life plans. This applies to every area of life, whether it be work, romance, family, friends, etc.

Common Fears That Arise During Adolescence

Teens need to know that they have no obligation to meet anyone else’s expectations. Their only measuring stick should be they themselves. In other words, their goal should be to become the best version of themselves.

Fear of the future

As young people become more and more involved in society, they’ll realize all of the responsibilities they have. This can be quite a disconcerting realization. For example, at 16 or 17 years old, teens are already near the end of high school and face the following questions:

  • Where should I go to college and what should I study?
  • Should I get a job to make my own money?
  • What will happen if I don’t do well in college?
  • Will I be able to make friends and find a boyfriend/girlfriend?
  • What if I can’t adjust to college life?

These are only a few of the many questions teens ask themselves about the near and distant future. These common fears can cause a great deal of anxiety during adolescence, as well as insecurity and low self-esteem.

It’s important that parents offer their children a great deal of support. That way, teens have someone to go to with their doubts who will give them peace of mind.

“Developing the ability to tolerate frustration and overcome adversity is a key part of a person’s development.”

Fear of rejection

Teens have yet to completely define their identity. They form their identities through their interaction with fellow peers and peer groups.

However, when teenagers don’t achieve this sort of interaction, they may experience very deep fears. This can drive them to make hurried decisions or changes, question their own values, or even pick up harmful habits, just to fit in.

Rejection doesn’t only apply to romantic relationships. Adolescents can also experience rejection among friends and classmates. 

In fact, teens can also suffer a fear of being rejected by adults. For example, excessive worry about making a sports team, joining a club, or getting a job.

Common Fears That Arise During Adolescence

Fear of loss

The path down adolescence adds a number of new people to our lives that quickly become irreplaceable. However, at the same time, it also does the opposite. Some people fall into the background. Others disappear altogether.

Friends from childhood, family members and even pets – be it for sentimental reasons or physical loss – can cease to be part of our daily lives. These changes, especially when they’re new experiences in a young person’s life, can be very hard and produce a lot of fear.

Once again, and all the way down this road, the support and guidance of experienced adults is fundamental. Parents, grandparents and older siblings can all help teens overcome situations they can’t handle on their own. This is especially true when it comes to loss.

We must understand that these common fears in adolescence are normal and that they help teens develop a healthy and resilient mentality.

While your support is invaluable, it’s important to avoid solving everything for your adolescent children. Each person must face their own personal battles to make progress and grow everyday.