Anxiety in adolescent girls may present in a number of ways. Young girls often cannot identify their feelings. Anxiety might be felt as jitteriness, a sick stomach, excessive worry, headaches, sleeplessness, nightmares, or general feelings of not being well. While older girls may experience anxiety internally and express their concerns verbally, younger girls tend to experience physical symptoms instead.
There are a variety of anxiety disorders your daughter may be struggling with, such as separation anxiety, social anxiety disorder, panic disorders, or generalized anxiety disorder. Understanding the source of your daughter’s anxiety can be the first step towards treating it.
How to Help Your Daughter
The first step in helping your daughter with her anxiety is validating her feelings. When she is expressing concerns, instead of telling her not to worry, let her know that what she is experiencing is valid. It can also help her if you share your own worries and concerns. It’s easy for teens to feel like parents can’t possibly understand what they’re going through, but when you share your experiences, it creates a connection that can encourage your daughter to reach out when she’s struggling.
Younger girls may also benefit from personifying their anxiety. When they feel that stomach ache or excessive worry, they can assign those attributes to their anxiety. She can tell those feelings to go away and practice thinking logically about the situation. If she’s feeling anxiety about a school presentation, she can talk through what she thinks the worst-case scenario may be (Will everyone laugh? Will she embarrass herself by forgetting everything she wanted to say?) and discuss what really will happen. If she forgets a line, she can start again or check her notes. This can help your daughter see that there are solutions for managing her anxiety.
Even with family support, anxiety may be difficult for young girls to control. This is where working with a mental health professional can be useful. A clinician will work with your daughter to give your daughter an official diagnosis and work with her to create a treatment plan. This may include cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness exercises, group, and individual therapy.
Asheville Academy for Treatment
Asheville Academy is the leading therapeutic boarding school where students can reflect, heal, and overcome emotional and academic challenges. Our family-focused program is uniquely designed to help younger students develop the skills to expand their resiliency, manage and communicate their emotions, and most importantly, strengthen their relationships with themselves and family members.
As a team, we’ll develop a plan together to address and correct negative behavior patterns before they lead to more destructive behaviors. Our nurturing environment and relationship-based community provides an emotionally safe space for your child to heal. Once kids feel safe to be vulnerable, we can start to process any previous trauma, anxiety, negative patterns, and academic issues. Upon completion of the program, your child will develop the confidence and resilience to rebuild strained relationships, advocate for their needs, create healthy boundaries, and face life’s challenges. For more information please call (800) 264-8709.