As a Licensed Professional Counselor(LPC), I see a fair number of clients with anxiety. Maybe they lost a job or their marriage is failing. Recently I am seeing adolescent boys on a regular basis struggling with anxiety.
What Is Anxiety?
In general, anxiety is a term used for nervousness, fear, apprehension and worry. Chronic anxiety can lead to, or be an obsessive-compulsive behavior. It can manifest itself by the looping of terrorizing words through a nervous or worried mind. Typically, but not always anxiety sets in when there is an uncertain outcome or an imminent event. So, if you’re asking yourself “what would a young boy, or my son have to feel anxious about” well, admittedly I thought the same thing.
If you happen to be the parent of an adolescent boy who is visibly anxious, pay attention it’s a serious matter. Anxiety will effect the way he behaves, and if not dealt with can turn into real physical symptoms. You’ve heard the old saying “you’re going to worry yourself sick.” It’s true!
Here is a short list of the reasons a boy may feel anxiety:
- parents arguing often
- parents divorced or divorcing
- girlfriend problems
- being bullied
- can’t seem to please parents
- peer pressure
What Can Be Done
I don’t particularly think these are anything new; I remember feeling anxious about most of these when I was a boy. What is different today?
- Dads may not be keeping their sons 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 spend with kids is 10 minutes a day-this must change– they need 3-5 hours a week at a minimum.
- Get your son active; activities keep the mind and body active.
- If you witness panic attacks, immediately get them to a professional.
It’s not uncommon for any of us 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 the issue is that’s causing angst. This is especially the case with children. Simply asking “hey what’s going on, are you okay?” is a good start. Remember that once the question is asked to listen. Sometimes knowing you’re supportive may be all that is required!
When to Seek Help?
If you find you can’t get your child to open up it might be time to involve a professional; I recommend a Licensed Professional Counselor(LPC).
Why an LPC?
LPC’s are trained in counseling and at a minimum have a Masters 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 is this important? In some states, it is not necessary to be licensed as an LPC to practice counseling! I encourage you to make sure the LPC you choose is licensed in the field in order to receive valid, credible advice!
I believe in trying to fix anxiety with counseling first; only if all else fails do I recommend medication. Medicating a child can lead to a lifetime of dependency; teaching a child “how to” deal with problems will help them as they grow and mature into an adult.
Have you or your son “worried yourself sick?” How did it turn out?