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Recognizing Signs of Anxiety in Tweens and Teens

Recognizing Signs of Anxiety in Tweens and Teens

Growing up can be tough. With all the pressure to fit in, get good grades, and navigate the complexities of adolescence, it's no wonder that many tweens and teens struggle with anxiety. The signs of anxiety can be subtle and easily overlooked, leading to more significant issues down the road. As a parent or caregiver, it's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of anxiety so that you can help your child deal with it effectively.
In this blog post, we'll explore some common signs of anxiety in tweens and teens, and offer some tips for how you can support them.

Physical Symptoms

Anxiety can cause a variety of physical symptoms, including headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension, and difficulty sleeping. Pay attention if your child frequently complains of these symptoms, especially if there's no underlying medical condition causing them. If your child is often experiencing these physical symptoms, it may be a sign of anxiety.

Excessive Worry

Anxiety in teens may manifest as excessive worrying about different areas of their life. These areas may include their academic performance, relations with friends or family, health, and safety. Teens who worry excessively may need constant reassurance from their parents, which can be frustrating to parents. It is essential to listen to their worry and understand the root cause of it.

Social Withdrawal

Many tweens and teens with anxiety may have difficulty making friends, joining groups, and participating in activities. They may be fearful of rejection or worried that they'll say or do something embarrassing. If your child frequently avoids social situations or seems to be increasingly isolated from their peers, it could be a sign that they're struggling with anxiety.


Many tweens and teens with anxiety are perfectionists, putting pressure on themselves to excel in everything they do. They may be overly concerned about academic performance, appearance, and extracurricular activities. While a desire to do well is normal, if your child's perfectionism is causing them a lot of stress and anxiety, it may be time for a conversation about how to manage these feelings.

Avoidance Behaviors

Tweens and teens with anxiety may avoid anything they perceive as risky, such as trying new things or going outside of their comfort zone. They may be fearful of failure or worried about the unknown. While it's important to be cautious and safe, if your child is consistently avoiding anything that makes them uncomfortable, it may be a sign of anxiety.

Anxiety can cause teens to avoid certain situations, activities, or people that they perceive as threatening or uncomfortable. They may be fearful of failure or worried about the unknown. While it's important to be cautious and safe, if your child has developed a pattern of avoidance, a parent or educator should support them in facing their fears by taking small steps towards overcoming them.

Strong Emotions

Tweens and teens with anxiety may experience intense emotions, such as anger, fear, and sadness. These emotions may be overwhelming and difficult to manage, and your child may struggle to articulate what's causing them. If your child seems to be having frequent emotional outbursts or seems unable to regulate their emotions, it may be time to explore whether anxiety is a contributing factor.

Changes in Sleep

Sleep is often affected by anxiety. Teens who experience anxiety may find it difficult to fall asleep, wake up early, or have nightmares. Sleep hygiene can make a difference, and implementing better sleep habits like creating a relaxing bedtime routine, reducing caffeine intake, and avoiding any screens before bedtime may help.

Self-Doubt and Criticism

Teens who experience anxiety may be highly self-critical, focusing on flaws or perceived faults. This self-doubt and criticism may impact their self-esteem, leading teenagers to isolate themselves from peers and activities they used to enjoy. Parents can guide teens to develop a growth mindset by providing specific and constructive feedback which acknowledges their effort and progress.

Anxiety is a common experience for many tweens and teens, but it's important to recognize the signs and provide support to help your child manage it effectively. If you're concerned that your child may be struggling with anxiety, it's important to talk to them about it and seek help if necessary. By offering empathy and support, you can help your child navigate the challenges of adolescence with greater ease and resilience.

If you notice that your child is struggling in some of these areas, it is important to consult with their teacher, school counselor, or pediatrician to get more information and support.

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