teens: 2 Articles

Effective Strategies for Teens to Manage Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is tough, but teens don’t have to figure it out alone. Find Your Fierce by Jacqueline Sperling, PhD, uses evidence-based skills from cognitive behavioral therapy to give teens a toolkit to help them overcome their anxiety and move toward becoming their bravest, fiercest selves. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction and first chapter: Introduction Humans are supposed to care about what others think of them, and this starts feeling especially important when you’re a teenager. That concern about what others think can sometimes turn into worry about being judged or embarrassed in front of others, grow even bigger, and get in the way of spending time with friends, participating in school, and going out in public. If that sounds like you, you might have social anxiety disorder and you most certainly would not be alone. Social anxiety disorder is the second most common anxiety disorder and affects many of your peers—over 9%. A lot of people with social anxiety disorder blame themselves for what they’re experiencing. No one chooses to feel this way, though, and you certainly did not sign yourself up for this. You might have inherited some genes that make you more likely to experience social anxiety—a lot of teens with social anxiety also have a parent with social anxiety. Sometimes stressful events or big life changes, such as moving to a new school, being bullied, or going through puberty, can bring your social anxiety front and center.  Chapter 1: What Is Social Anxiety? Social anxiety is a fear of judgement or embarrassment that has lasted for at least six months and gets in the way of life at home, at school, or in other social environments. For example, social anxiety may make it difficult to attend family gatherings, complete homework, and spend time with friends. Those with social anxiety disorder may avoid raising their hands in class, going to parties, ordering in restaurants, making eye contact, giving a presentation, using public restrooms, eating in front of others, going to school, making phone calls, or texting friends. Social anxiety disorder can look different from one person to the next. Although social anxiety disorder can get in the way of everyday life, it can be managed with some skills. The aim of this book is to give you a toolbox so that you, and not your anxiety, can be the boss of you. A type of treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with exposure and response prevention is very effective for social anxiety disorder. CBT focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are linked, and teaches you tools to manage all three.  You are the expert on you; no one knows you better. An important part of CBT is that it aims to make you not only the expert on you but also the expert on your own treatment. In this book, you will learn how and why these skills work. There will be activities throughout the book to help you practice what you learn.

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Effective Strategies for Teens to Manage Social Anxiety 2021-09-20T16:37:08-04:00

Magination Press Quick Tip: Talk with Your Teen About Dating

Talking with your teen or pre-teen about dating and relationships is best done as an ongoing conversation, not a once-and-done chat. These ongoing conversations can cover a range of topics including how the media portrays dating, expectations about dating, healthy relationships, defining terms, and even how to ask someone out or decline an invitation. Dr. Andrew Smiler, author of Magination Press book, Dating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy, offers the following tips for talking with your child about dating. Teen Dating Experiences Most children start becoming aware of the worlds of dating and sex during early adolescence. This awareness is driven by puberty (which starts as early as age 10) and the start of some “boyfriend-girlfriend” activity in schools (although this rarely involves kissing or holding hands). Tween and teen-oriented television programs often include this content in ways that are mostly absent from programming for younger children.  Approximately 80% of adolescents tell researchers that they started “dating” at age 14 (or younger), although it’s not always clear what that means. For 13- and 14-year olds, dating is often centered on group activities, and may – or may not – include activities such as kissing and holding hands. At age 16, dating includes time for the couple alone (outside of school) and also with groups of friends. Kissing and holding hands are expected, and many teens engage in more intimate activities. According to one long-running federal research project, approximately 20% of 9th graders report that they’ve had sex, and the number climbs to almost 60% of 12th graders. The topics and questions below are designed to help you start discussing this part of life with your child. The conversation may be uncomfortable, for you or your child, so you may need to minimize eye contact, allow long pauses, or talk while completing another activity that provides some momentary distractions. Until you’re sure of your child’s gender and sexual preferences, phrase your questions in a more open fashion (e.g., “who” instead of “which boy/girl”).  I recommend starting to discuss the media content at age 10 (the first bullet point) and other topics at age 12 or 13. Suggestions for Discussing Dating and Sex with Your Pre-Teen or Teen Use TV shows and movies that you’re both familiar with as the basis for some discussion, especially first conversations. If you’re both fans of Friends, Black-ish, or some other show, ask which character they’d like to date, and why that character but not another character? Also ask how respectful, honest, trusting, caring, etc., the on-screen relationships are and if they’d want to be in that kind of relationship. These conversations can start at age 10. Teach your child how to ask someone out, including how to handle the disappointment of hearing “no.” Also, teach your child how to respond if they get asked out, including ways to stall (because they weren’t expecting the question) and ways to politely say no. In an era of gender equality, all children

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Magination Press Quick Tip: Talk with Your Teen About Dating 2020-03-23T14:16:57-04:00