Childhood Fears by Age: What Scares Teenagers?
Your child has become a full-grown teenager and your world is going to change with many new emotional crises, drama carried over from middle school and new temptations are still not going away. Teens start changing around the age of 15, this is the time that most have started high school and it’s time to get serious about their future. At 15, most teens are ready to start earning money and getting a job. Teens at this age are social butterflies and everything is the end of the world if things don’t go right for your teen. This is also the time to start thinking about college because in three short years your child will be 18. If they choose not to go to college, then it’s time for your teen to start saving money so they can decide what they want to do. Some might want to explore the world and some might want to move out on their own. It’s wise to start encouraging your teen to start thinking about their next few years of high school so they are prepared for the real world. At 15 and a half, your teen is able to start driver’s education and by 16, they can legally drive so there are many things on their minds that they are concerned about.
Distress Tolerance: This is a good area for you as a parent to gain some knowledge about the crisis situations that are going to arise while your teen is attending high school. Here are some goals of distress tolerance. First, you are going to want to know how to survive these crisis situations along with your teen, without making the situation worse. You can teach them to accept reality and replace suffering and being “stuck” in their minds with emotional pain with the possibility of moving forward. This allows all parties involved to become free of having to satisfy the demands of desires, urges and intense emotions. You should use these skills when the situation is highly stressful, a short-term occurrence and your teen creates intense pressure to resolve their fear of the crisis immediately. Don’t tell your teen to use these crisis survival skills for everyday problems, solving the world’s problems or feeling like they have a fear of making their life worth living unless they are serious about harming themselves. You as a parent are going to be surprised at what the teens of today fear the most.
Social Media: The rise of social media in the last ten years have teens turning to the internet for support and to discuss their fears. This can be a curse because the internet does have some reliable information; however, also quite a bit of misinformation. Most teens are smart enough to use “google” as their search engine but so much of the information is out of date which is surprising because technology changes on a daily basis. Most teens dread talking to their parents about issues like sex and other personal information, but these conversations are important to talk about. How should parents bring up these sensitive issues and be supportive? Start early because you can’t expect to start these conversations after a late night outing after your teen is already a junior in high school. Learn how to communicate effectively and also in a meaningful way. Start during the middle school years and more importantly, you can really begin having good conversations when your teen is small. This way you can build on topics as your child grows into a teen.
Communication: Teens want to feel that they can trust you with personal information without having the fear you will use this against them. If your teen admits there was marijuana at a party but they didn’t partake, don’t rush out and buy a drug test and ban them from all future parties. Your teen trusted you enough not to have this fear of being honest. You would not want your teen starting to tell white lies about where they were if you overreact. You can safely talk to your teen and tell them you are happy they were honest. You will be able to tell if your teen is using drugs if they start keeping their door closed all the time, their grades drop and their friends are getting in trouble. These are usually key indicators that something else is going on with your teen.
Teen’s Main Fears: There are about 10 things your teen is fearful about in today’s society. Job interviews, Exams, talking with parents about sex, blind dates, writing a CV, going to the dentist, having their phone taken away, being told to clean their room, grounding, and being banned for social media. Many of our teens today have their main social life on social media. Years ago teens had friends from school and their neighborhoods, now our teens have friends from all over the world. Teens watch YouTube and listen to music using their devices so banning them from this is definitely one of their biggest fears. You can always start slow and have them clean their rooms and if that elicits a moan and groan, you can start talking about banning them from the internet. This should solve the problem with your teen.
We all have fears in life and the sooner we realize we can control these fears by communication, the better we begin to feel. There are many teens who get into some serious trouble with the law which is also a fear or should be their number one fear, however; times have changed and children are all raised differently then they were 50 to 100 years ago. Today we have more fears like gun violence in schools and at events, drugs that are dangerous because these are coming in from other countries, human trafficking and countless more problems then teens had years ago. All you can do as a parent is your best and make sure your teen can come in with an open door policy and discuss any fears they may have.