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Anxiety And Stress In Teens and Pre-Teens – Know The Signs

It is not unusual for teens and pre-teens (children aged 11 or 12) to experience some stress and anxiety in their lives and in most cases it is perfectly normal and can help them deal with situations that are perhaps challenging and overwhelming. However, how do you know when your child’s anxiety or stress has turned into an anxiety disorder that may need intervention and help? In this article from Becoming Aware, based in Eastbourne with clients throughout Sussex, we look at how parents can spot changes in their teenage children that may signify that they are not coping very well and how best to deal with it.

Signs Of Stress In Teens And Pre-Teens

Your child can show signs of anxiety and stress in emotional, social and physical ways including:

· Being irritable and restless

· Having difficulty in concentrating and staying focused

· Feeling on edge with irrational outbursts

· Avoiding friends

· Being isolated from their peer group

· Spending time alone

· Experiencing headaches/migraines and stomach disorders

· Feeling excessively tired and fatigued

· Changes in eating habits

When Should You Become Concerned?

You may also notice that your teen is having trouble sleeping, or experiencing nightmares. Also, their performance at school may be changing, and not in a positive way and they may be experiencing panic attacks.

It’s time to become concerned when these periods of stress and anxiety go on for a period of time that isn’t healthy and when they have more stress than they can actually cope with.

Stress And Anxiety Triggers

· School and college including exams and homework

· Social situations

· Family issues including parental divorce or the loss of a close family member

· Traumatic events

· Relationships with friends including boyfriends/girlfriends

· Significant life changes including starting secondary school or a new school, leaving school, finding a job etc.

What Can Parents Do To Help?

Your support at this time has never been more required and a listening ear will go a long way.

· Spend time with your child

· Work with them to adopt a healthy lifestyle

· Encourage physical activity

· Make sure that they try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night

· Include time when they can relax and unwind

· Seek professional help with a trained person

There really are lots of things that you can do to support and help your child. Many parents are reluctant to resort to medication at this point and if this is the case and you are worried about visiting a doctor, you may want to turn to an emotional healing person first for a consultation.


It’s always helpful to realise that you are not the only parent who has a child who is feeling like this. If you are concerned about one of your children, there is help available. You could talk to your doctor or to a youth worker or you could speak to a person who is trained in emotional wellbeing for teens and pre-teens. This could be really helpful and sometimes it only needs one session. Try to get some help before it turns into serious issues of low self-esteem, a negative outlook on life or anxiety and panic attacks.

“Your Child Is Not The Only One”

And it’s always good to realise that it’s not only your child that will be feeling like this, which can be both reassuring and comforting to both child and parents.

What To Do Next

Karen Hoad from Becoming Aware is a qualified and experienced Emotional Healing & Wellbeing Practitioner. Her vast experience has helped many teens and pre-teens deal with stress and anxiety issues, which can manifest themselves at exam times and during other stressful situations. Call Karen on 07766 427966 for a without obligation chat or email

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