Why are so many young boys experiencing anxiety? As a researcher and facilitator of adolescent boys I am particularly concerned with the number of cases I see.
Adolescents Experiencing Anxiety
Generally, anxiety is a term used for nervousness, fear, apprehension and worry. If left untreated, chronic anxiety can lead to obsessive-compulsive behavior. And typically, but not always, anxiety sets in when there is an uncertain outcome or an imminent event.
If you are the parent of an adolescent boy who is visibly anxious on a continuous basis, pay attention it’s a serious matter. Anxiety will affect the way he behaves, and if not dealt with can turn into real physical symptoms. There’s truth in the old saying “you’re going to worry yourself sick”
Here’s just a short list of reasons a boy may feel anxiety:
- parents arguing often
- parents divorced or divorcing
- being bullied
- can’t seem to please parents
- peer pressure
- identity confusion
What Can Be Done
You may not think these are a big deal, but they can be for your son. Here are some tips I provide parents:
- Dad may not be keeping his son active enough! Boys are sitting in their room or in the basement playing video games letting their mind race and worry.
- Research tells us the average time fathers are spending with the kids is 10 minutes a day. That must change, they need 3-5 hours a week at a minimum of one-on-one time; mentoring, teaching and at times just being together.
- Get him active; activities keep the mind and body healthy.
- If you witness panic attacks, take action and get them to a professional.
It’s not uncommon to have periods of anxiousness or anxiety. When this feeling hangs on for more than a couple of hours it’s time to address what’s causing angst; especially with children. Ask the question, “hey what’s going on, are you okay” is a great start. Remember, once the question is asked just listen. Knowing you care and are supportive by validating his feelings may be all that is required!
When to Seek Help
If you find you can’t get your son to open up it might be time to involve a professional; I recommend a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). LPC’s are trained in counseling and at a minimum have a Master’s Degree in the counseling field. They must pass a very difficult comprehensive exam followed by a rigorous supervision of 3000+ hours before they receive their license. Why this is so important. In some states, it is not necessary to be licensed as an LPC to practice counseling! Make sure the LPC you choose is licensed and has experience working with the adolescent population to ensure the best outcome.