The 2 things I hear most from kids and teens about anxiety.

Karen Young in The 2 things I hear most from kids and teens about anxiety.

I’ve spoken all around the world about anxiety, and it doesn’t matter where I find myself, anxiety is there. That’s because anxiety is a human thing. It’s not a breakage thing, or a deficiency thing. It’s not a child thing, or a grown up thing. It’s not a ‘me’ thing or a ‘you’ thing, or an ‘us’ thing or a ‘them’ thing. It’s an ‘all of us’ thing, and our kids need to know this.

I often go into schools to speak to groups of kids or teens about anxiety. I’m always so warmed and overjoyed by their openness when they realise it’s safe for them to speak or ask questions.

This is what happens when we make anxiety safe. When we turn a conversation about anxiety into a conversation about courage, when we normalise anxiety and speak to the human-ness of it, we strip away any shame story or deficiency story and we make it easy for young people to show up, to be brave, to grow and stretch themselves at their edges. We strengthen them. 

The two things I hear most from kids and teens about anxiety.

When I speak to kids or teens about anxiety, there are two things I hear almost every time.

The first is, ‘I thought it was just me.’ Anxiety can be so isolating. This in itself will drive more anxiety about the anxiety, and fuel the deficiency story that can often come with anxiety.

If only every young person could know that anxiety is one of the most human of the human experiences. And it happens to all of us. If only that could happen, they’d feel less alone in their symptoms, less broken because of them, and more comforted by the human-ness of them.

The second thing I hear is, ‘I didn’t know who to talk to.’ My response is, ‘Talk to an adult you trust, because I promise you, at some point in their lives – probably many points, maybe even today – they would have felt the way you do. If that adult isn’t sure what to say, that’s okay – we adults don’t always have the words we need to make sense of things – find another adult. We’re there. And we get it. Sometimes the hardest thing is knowing where to start. If this happens, try, ‘I’d like to talk to you but I don’t know what to say,’ – and let the adult help you find the words that come next.’

We’re all in this. Let them feel the human-ness of their symptoms, so they don’t feel the isolation of them. ‘Anxiety can be tough can’t it. I get it. I’ve felt that way too before. I want you to know it’s a sign that you’re doing something hard – not that you can’t do hard things. How can I help?

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our newsletter

We would love you to follow us on Social Media to stay up to date with the latest Hey Sigmund news and upcoming events.

Follow Hey Sigmund on Instagram

Separation anxiety can come with a tail whip - not only does it swipe at kids, but it will so often feel brutal for their important adults too.

If your child struggle to separate at school, or if bedtimes tougher than you’d like them to be, or if ‘goodbye’ often come with tears or pleas to stay, or the ‘fun’ from activities or play dates get lost in the anxiety of being away from you, I hear you.

There’s a really good reason for all of these, and none of them have anything to do with your parenting, or your child not being ‘brave enough’. Promise. And I have something for you. 

My 2 hour on-demand separation anxiety webinar is now available for purchase. 

This webinar is full of practical, powerful strategies and information to support your young person to feel safer, calmer, and braver when they are away from you. 

We’ll explore why separation anxiety happens and powerful strategies you can use straight away to support your child. Most importantly, you’ll be strengthening them in ways that serve them not just for now but for the rest of their lives.

Access to the recording will be available for 30 days from the date of purchase.

Link to shop in bio.
The more we treat anxiety as a problem, or as something to be avoided, the more we inadvertently turn them away from the safe, growthful, brave things that drive it. 

On the other hand, when we make space for anxiety, let it in, welcome it, be with it, the more we make way for them to recognise that anxiety isn’t something they need to avoid. They can feel anxious and do brave. 

As long as they are safe, let them know this. Let them see you believing them that this feels big, and believing in them, that they can handle the big. 

‘Yes this feels scary. Of course it does - you’re doing something important/ new/ hard. I know you can do this. How can I help you feel brave?’♥️
I’ve loved working with @sccrcentre over the last 10 years. They do profoundly important work with families - keeping connections, reducing clinflict, building relationships - and they do it so incredibly well. @sccrcentre thank you for everything you do, and for letting me be a part of it. I love what you do and what you stand for. Your work over the last decade has been life-changing for so many. I know the next decade will be even more so.♥️

In their words …
Posted @withregram • @sccrcentre Over the next fortnight, as we prepare to mark our 10th anniversary (28 March), we want to re-share the great partners we’ve worked with over the past decade. We start today with Karen Young of Hey Sigmund.

Back in 2021, when we were still struggling with covid and lockdowns, Karen spoke as part of our online conference on ‘Strengthening the relationship between you & your teen’. It was a great talk and I’m delighted that you can still listen to it via the link in the bio.

Karen also blogged about our work for the Hey Sigmund website in 2018. ‘How to Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Children and Teens by Understanding Their Unique Brain Chemistry (by SCCR)’, which is still available to read - see link in bio.

#conflictresolution #conflict #families #family #mediation #earlyintervention #decade #anniversary #digital #scotland #scottish #cyrenians #psychology #relationships #children #teens #brain #brainchemistry #neuroscience
I often go into schools to talk to kids and teens about anxiety and big feelings. 

I always ask, ‘Who’s tried breathing through big feels and thinks it’s a load of rubbish?’ Most of them put their hand up. I put my hand up too, ‘Me too,’ I tell them, ‘I used to think the same as you. But now I know why it didn’t work, and what I needed to do to give me this powerful tool (and it’s so powerful!) that can calm anxiety, anger - all big feelings.’

The thing is though, all powertools need a little instruction and practice to use them well. Breathing is no different. Even though we’ve been breathing since we were born, we haven’t been strong breathing through big feelings. 

When the ‘feeling brain’ is upset, it drives short shallow breathing. This is instinctive. In the same ways we have to teach our bodies how to walk, ride a bike, talk, we also have to teach our brains how to breathe during big feelings. We do this by practising slow, strong breathing when we’re calm. 

We also have to make the ‘why’ clear. I talk about the ‘why’ for strong breathing in Hey Warrior, Dear You Love From Your Brain, and Ups and Downs. Our kids are hungry for the science, and they deserve the information that will make this all make sense. Breathing is like a lullaby for the amygdala - but only when it’s practised lots during calm.♥️
When it’s time to do brave, we can’t always be beside them, and we don’t need to be. What we can do is see them and help them feel us holding on, even in absence, while we also believe in their brave.♥️

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This