Anxiety in Adolescence: Techniques to Manage It

Anxiety in adolescence is more common than you may think. If you think your child is going through it, these techniques are sure to help.
Anxiety in Adolescence: Techniques to Manage It
Mara Amor López

Written and verified by the psychologist Mara Amor López.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Anxiety in adolescence is becoming an increasing problem. On many occasions, it goes unnoticed because parents tend to attribute it to “age-related things.” Therefore, we don’t realize that something is really happening to our child.

It’s true that this stage of life is complicated, as it’s when a child’s personality will be determined and they suffer from emotional ups and downs. During these ages, hormones are “revolutionized” and constantly put the individual’s adaptation to the test.

Sometimes, it happens that this “bad mood” isn’t occasional, but rather becomes a state of anxiety and constant worry that lasts over time. Do you want to help your child to control their anxiety? Keep reading.

How to recognize anxiety in adolescence

We should suspect a possible anxiety disorder in our teenagers if they constantly feel worried, nervous, and even more irritable than usual. It may be that we don’t believe that they have reason to be like this. However, anxiety can appear in the face of even the smallest problems that we’re not able to cope with.

Anxiety doesn’t only appear in our child’s mood and emotions, but also, on occasion, in the form of physical symptoms. This is because our bodies, in stressful situations, secrete adrenaline that puts us in a state of “alert” and prepares us for danger.

Anxiety in Adolescence: Techniques to Manage It

Symptoms of this activation are an increased heart rate, accelerated breathing, dizziness, sweating, etc. If this situation lasts over time, headache and abdominal pain may appear as well.

This activation is a defense mechanism of our body against life-threatening situations. The problem is when it goes off under circumstances that don’t pose a risk to us. If it occurs in the face of negative thoughts or worries, then it’s a sign the child’s going into a state of anxiety.

What can cause anxiety in adolescence?

Today’s world is a competitive one. Comparison is commonplace and it’s easy for adolescents to feel the pressure. Passing exams, gaining acceptance from their peer group, being the first in a sports competition, etc. In addition to this high self-demand, we can also add:

  • Low tolerance of frustration: Many teens get angry when something doesn’t work out the way they thought it should.
  • Fear of making a fool of themselves: This feeling creates many insecurities at this age.
  • Exams: Many failures have nothing to do with actual comprehension of the subject, but rather the pressure of the exams.

And it’s here where we wonder what we can do to help our child.

Techniques to control anxiety in adolescence

Talking to our child

Communication at home is very important. We must create a favorable climate for them to tell us what’s going on and how they’re feeling. A good way to start would be to tell them that we’ve also had problems that have caused us anxiety and that we understand what they’re experiencing.

Make a to-do list with them

Sometimes, they may have set such complicated goals that it’s difficult for them to achieve them. We can tell them to try to make them simpler and easier to achieve.

Anxiety in Adolescence: Techniques to Manage It

We can also suggest that they organize step-by-step the activities that they have to do in a kind of schedule or a list of steps. You can do it together and work as a team to do all of this brainstorming. As you help your child organize their time, you shouldn’t forget to include sports activities or breaks that will help reduce anxiety.

Learning cognitive and relaxation techniques

The objective of cognitive techniques to control anxiety is to work on the situations that produce anxiety and interpret them in a less threatening way. We can also identify the negative thoughts that cause anxiety and learn to change them.

Relaxation techniques are based on learning to breathe correctly, tensing and releasing the muscles. Once we’ve internalized them, we must apply these techniques every day, especially in moments of greater anxiety. All this can be done by going to a professional to help us, who will guide us in the process.

Anxiety in adolescence is a problem that we must identify as soon as possible and look for a solution. It’s important that we get to know what worries our children, because that will make it much easier to find a solution.

As parents, we’re concerned about the physical and psychological well-being of our children. Surely these techniques will help you to improve the problem, although seeking professional help is never a bad idea.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.