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If you find yourself struggling to support your child with anxiety, know that you are not alone. Many adults grew up without adequate education around mental health problems because it has been stigmatized for so long. Consulting your healthcare professional for advice is the best way to get clarity. For practical tips you can carry out at home as an added support, consider the following:
1. Professional Study Help
A lot of VCE students experience high stress levels and anxiety throughout the school year, particularly during high-pressure exam times. VCE tutors in Melbourne can be a great support to VCE students, covering study materials and providing help on how to cope with the demands of their final school years.
Plenty of tutors who specialise in different VCE subjects offer in-person and online classes to meet student’s needs. If you know your child could benefit from tutoring but would prefer working from the comfort of their bedroom, online sessions may be worth a go!
2. Discuss Mental Health When Calm
Anxiety is a health issue that you should address upfront with your teenager to ensure they are aware they have a support system they can always rely on. Avoid having a serious talk while they are going through a stressful time or panic attack. Instead, bring it up during a calm period when things are stable and you are both feeling safe and secure.
Let them know you love them and are always open to listening to them before mentioning your concerns over mental health and discussing support options. Have regular check-ins with them, and encourage open communication in your family at all times.
3. Do Not Force Them To Talk
Your teenager might not want to chat about all their concerns openly with you. Do not take this personally or allow it to get you down. You don’t want to create a distance between the two of you by making them think their struggle is offensive to you.
Teenagers and young people tend to focus more on communication within social relationships, so this behaviour is normal. What’s important is that your kid knows you take them seriously and are here to support them. When they are ready, they may open up to you.
4. Encourage Healthy Habits As A Family
Aside from hormonal changes that come with growing up, teenage anxiety can be triggered by things like lack of sleep, poor health, and underlying disease. While there’s no quick cure, lifestyle habits like a healthy diet, regular exercise, and sleep can be extremely beneficial in reducing the symptoms of anxiety.
Of course, you can’t force an unwilling 17-year-old to do all of this on their own, but you can encourage these healthy habits for all members of your household by cooking nutritious meals and scheduling fun physical fitness activities for the whole family.
5. Take Care Of Yourself
No parent wants to see their child in pain. It’s understandable to worry, but make sure you don’t end up so preoccupied that you neglect your own health as a result. In addition to the above measures, modelling healthy behaviours can be an effective way to encourage a healthy lifestyle in your household. Remember this if you find yourself slipping into negative thoughts. You’ll be better able to support your child and remain approachable if you are healthy yourself.
While these tips are a safe way to open the conversation about anxiety, your priority should be quite simple: listen empathetically to your teenager, and only take healthcare advice from your GP or a mental health professional.