Worry and Anxiety in Children and Teenagers
A WebMD article I read said, “Many chronic worriers tell of feeling a sense of impending doom or unrealistic fears that only increase their worries.” People who struggle with worrying are extremely worried right now that I’m writing about being worried. Anxiety and worry manifest themselves in many different ways, but you need to know that they don’t discriminate by age, gender, or race.
Anxiety and worry manifest themselves in many different ways, but you need to know that they don’t discriminate by age, gender, or race.
In fact, there are studies that point to teenagers being more stressed than adults! August, 2013, The American Psychological Association asked 1,018 teens (13-17) on a scale from 1-10 what level was their stress. The average for teenagers was 5.8 and the average for adults was 5.1.
Do you know what the #1 response of teenagers is when they’re stressed?
- 40% of teenagers become irritable or angry!
- 36% nervous and anxious.
Reports are now being published that lead health experts to believe the next generations lifespan will be shorter and shorter do to chronic stress, worry, poor health.
The non-profit group Child Trends reported in 2013 that 29% of high school students in grade 9-12 reported feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or longer during the past year.
Listen, worry and anxiety isn’t something that just adults deal with, it’s something that even are smallest children are showing symptoms of suffering.
For the Parents
If you’re a mom or dad reading this I want to tell you this statement is true:
“More is caught then taught.”
You are modeling for your children how to handle worry and anxiety in your life. We have to stop and allow that point to sink in.
It’s interesting: When your son or daughter comes to you and say’s, “daddy, I’m worried about something,” what’s are typical response? Tell me about it. After they’ve told you, what do we typically do next? We lead them to God and tell them to give it to him. What’s interesting is not the way we handle it with our children, it’s that we don’t listen to our own advice!
The way we act when we’re worried or anxious is the way our kids will act
when they’re faced with the same realities.
So if we want our kids to go to God in those moments, we better model what that looks like to them now. It’s learning and teaching that sometimes worry and anxiety is helpful. It can help you get ready for an upcoming situation. Like, preparing for a job interview or being prepared for a test. A little worry will help you to keep focus on preparation so you’ll do your best.
There was a time about a year and half ago that I suffered from chronic stress and anxiety. It got so bad at some points that it became very difficult to sleep. I would wake up in the middle of the night panic stricken about something I had been thinking about or dreaming about.
On one particular night as I sat straight up in my bed worried about all that was going on, the Holy Spirit started whispering to me, 1 Peter 5:6-7, 1 Peter 5:6-7, 1 Peter 5:6-7. I have to be honest, I couldn’t tell you if or when I had ever read 1 Peter 5:6-7, but when the Spirit leads you to scripture in the middle of the night, you better pay attention. I went to my Bible that was sitting on my night stand opened it up to… you guessed it, 1 Peter 5:6-7.
1 Peter 5:6-7 (NLT) 6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
Wow! I was blown away to hear the voice of God speaking to me about humbling myself and casting all my cares upon him. The kicker for me was that Peter included a person note regarding why we can cast our cares on God… “because he cares about you.”
I almost in that moment sensed Peter saying through his letter, “trust me; I know, you can go to Jesus because he told me all about how much he cared about you and me when we were together.”
Easy to say, but hard to do; cast ALL your worries, and anxieties on Him today, trust me, He cares about you.