Teens today are bombarded with so many decisions, questions, and pressures. Outside of counseling for teens, they may ask themselves questions like these:

  • Am I going to pursue college or trade school after I graduate, or go into the military or workforce?
  • What kind of part-time job am I going to pursue while still trying to have a social life in high school?
  • Am I going to pursue my musical talent, athletic talent, or both?
  • Am I going to save for college, an apartment, or a trip after graduation?
  • Am I going to spend my weekends building my volunteer resume or try to camp more, explore more, and enjoy the great outdoors?
  • Am I going to hang out with the one friend that isn’t very popular, or am I going to hang out with the popular clique that invited me to the latest social event?
  • Am I going to attend church services on Wednesday night, or play high school sports where practices/games are mandatory on Wednesday nights?
  • Am I going to start dating in high school or wait until college when the relationship could be more serious and long-term?

The anxiety and mental health issues in teens today continue to rise as they are bombarded with so many opportunities, decisions, and pressures, making the need for counseling for teens all the greater.
Here are a few things to consider as you try to support your teen during this season of ups and downs:

Encourage your teen to find friends that make them better. If they have kind and encouraging friends, their support system will lift them up rather than dragging them down. If they have friends that encourage morale, then they are more likely to be involved in positive things. If they have friends who take their studies and futures seriously, they are more likely to follow suit. First Corinthians 15:33 reminds us, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’”

Don’t miss the opportunity to make memories with your teens. Enjoy family pizza night. Make them pancakes before they head out for sports on Saturday morning. Take them to grab a bite of food after the big soccer game, driving test, or ACT/SAT. Ask if they need help studying for the test that is stressing them out. While you want to instill responsibility in them, it’s also an opportunity to be there for them in subtle yet life-changing and life-affirming ways.

Show up big! Show up at their games and extracurriculars. Be the mom and dad cheering loudly for them when the announcer says their name as part of the basketball team’s starting lineup. Show up at Senior Night with big, glittery signs and balloons.

Show up for all the little ceremonies with a small bouquet of flowers, even if they aren’t named the class valedictorian. These are things they might not necessarily say they appreciate, but they are big things that they will treasure forever as they remember, “Mom and Dad were there for me.”

Prepare them for the journey ahead. Teach them about finances and saving money. Teach them about prioritizing and time management. Teach them about having a strong work ethic and completing tasks to the best of their ability. Teach them that it’s ok to ask for help.

Teach them to never give up. Make sure they know you are always a phone call (or text message) away. Ask them about their dreams and help them plant seeds to see those dreams grow and come to fruition. Tell them over and over and over that you believe in them and that you’re along for the ride.

Acknowledge their feelings and ask how you can support them. Show them it’s ok to ask for help and work through big feelings. Hold their hand and give them bear hugs as they endure letdowns and heartbreak and frustrations. Encourage them to feel, heal, and keep moving forward.

Pray for them in your personal quiet time and pray over them as they admit feelings of defeat or brokenness. Let them cry when their heart is broken rather than tell them it’s silly to feel what they are feeling.

Encourage your teen to pursue new hobbies, interactions, and passions. Teaching your teen basic coping mechanisms is crucial to their current and future well-being. Teach them to remove themselves from negative social situations/pressures. Encourage them to stand up for what’s right. Remind them to notice the kid sitting all alone in the lunchroom.

Teach them it’s ok to try out for marching band or acting club, even if those activities are not labeled as popular. Now is the time to explore their interests, and hobbies, and learn to make a positive stand and impact on their surroundings.

Teach them now that God and counseling for teens are available for them in every phase of life. A crucial element for their future is knowing that following God is life-changing. The passion and purpose that comes from him are hope-filled. He will be with them in the highs and the lows of high school and beyond. Now is the time to help them prioritize church-going so they know and see those values.

They need to know that counseling for teens is not a bad term — it’s a beautiful one. It’s one that can help make sense of the difficult parts of their story and help them during the times when they feel like they are trapped in a desert, unaware of what’s next or how to navigate what’s ahead.
Christian counseling for teens is available to help aid them in their journey now. Anxiety over future plans or grudges and trauma over the past does not have to dictate their tomorrows.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

Take some time to talk to your teen and help ease the anxiety by aiding in their journey of what’s ahead and how to get there. It does not have to be a formal sit-down conversation; it can be subtle while chauffeuring them around or running to pick some things up at the grocery store.

Conversation starters to support your teen as they prepare for the road ahead:

  • What would be your dream job when you grow up?
  • What subject in school gets you excited?
  • Are there any jobs that sound interesting that we should look into?
  • Are there any colleges or trade schools that sound interesting that we should look into?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Where do you see yourself in ten years?
  • What kind of change would you like to make in the world?
  • How can we as a family support you right now to help you achieve your goals?

Scriptures to help you pray for your teen struggling with anxiety and worry:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:7, NIV
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.Philippians 4:6, NIV

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.2 Timothy 1:7, ESV

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.Matthew 6:34. ESV

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.Philippians 4:13, ESV

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.Isaiah 26:3, ESV

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.P Philippians 4:19, NIV

“Studying in the Library”, Courtesy of Annie Spratt, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Which Way?”, Courtesy of Jon Tyson, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Compass”, Courtesy of Aron Visuals, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Reaching Out”, Courtesy of Youssef Naddam, Unsplash.com, CC0 License