I spoke at a retreat for teenagers a few months ago and saw a central theme throughout the group. Student after student shared deep, personal struggles about home life, school, and social pressures. While each kid shared a story, the rest of the group nodded their heads in agreement. I heard one word over and over: anxiety.
While anxiety is a buzzword lately, I have some important insights for parents. I learned the truth about the teens who struggle with it.
The reality is that there is a lot of anxiety caused by parents. You may be to blame, in your teens’ eyes, for some of the anxious thoughts and struggles they face.
Here are 5 reasons why.
1. You haven’t established boundaries.
Your teens may not say this, but they want rules and boundaries. Lack of boundaries leaves them directionless. Boundaries help teens to know they are not alone. Boundaries help them learn and grow while having you as a safety net. Anxiety caused by parents comes in when teens feel like the boundaries are too tight or too loose.
What you should do:
Evaluate your boundaries. Do you have any unspoken boundaries? Communicate them clearly to your teens. Your boundaries should help your teens develop into adults. When they are centered upon development, your home becomes a refuge, not a prison.
2. You care too much about what other parents think.
“Every failure is an opportunity to teach and train your kids.”
Too many times, parents react to a situation out of fear of what their neighbors or friends might think of them as parents. But that shouldn’t be the default. When you sweep problems under the rug or react a certain way to maintain your own image, you do more damage than good for your teenager. The same is true when our kids are doing well in school or sports. Sometimes, we pressure them to keep performing so dad can keep looking good in front of his friends. Both situations result in anxiety caused by parents.
What you should do:
Every failure is an opportunity to teach and train your kids. When you focus on the problem instead of on your reputation, you communicate that your kids are more important.
3. You broke their trust.
One of the students at the retreat revealed that he had shared some of his struggles with his dad….