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What Is Teenage Angst?

By Emma Davies


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Teenage angst is something that a lot of teenagers will face in their life because being a teenager can be a frustrating and confusing time. If you’re going through teenager angst then you may find yourself feeling anxious, unwanted, or overwhelmed a lot of the time and that’s okay. There are lots of things out there that can help with an angsty teen, such as therapy.

What Is Teenage Angst?

Teenage Angst Meaning

The teenage angst definition is that feeling of rejection, unwantedness, or anxiety and it’s not easy for anyone who goes through it. It’s natural that your teenager may want to test their boundaries and rules a bit more as they enter their teenage years. If you tell your teenager no then they may start to suffer this teen angst and that’s okay, you just need to remember to show them your reasoning behind why you say no so they understand that a bit more.

There is of course a big difference between youthful angst and perhaps something more serious so it’s important that you know the signs and differences.

Examples of Teenage Angst

It’s tough dealing with an angsty teenager, that’s for certain, and recognizing the signs can sometimes be hard. So, we’ve put together some examples that may help you recognize these signs in day to day life.

  • Change in hobbies – Perhaps your teenager used to love playing the piano or going out to play tennis with you every weekend but now that has changed and they don’t seem that interested anymore. As a parent, it can be upsetting when your kid stops wanting to do things with you but try and remember that this is all new for them too
  • Sleeping pattern changes – You may notice that your teen’s sleeping patterns may change and this is often an example of teenage angst which is completely normal. Of course, they’re not going to go to bed at 7 o’clock anymore like they may have done when they were a kid and they may be sleeping in a lot more – this is very common.
  • Changes in mood – We’ve all heard of the phrase “grumpy teenager” and chances are, we’ve been called it a few times too. With all the hormones raging at the teenage, it’s obvious that there are going to be a good few mood swings and changes and that’s normal. This is also an example of teenage angst, so feeling on edge and suddenly happy is common.

Signs of Teenage Angst

There are many things that you may notice in your teenager that are normal when it comes to teenage angst but in this section, we’ll also look at when there’s a problem and when you should perhaps consider that there truly is something wrong.

  • Mood changes
  • Academic performance changes
  • Becoming a bit more rebellious
  • Breaking more rules
  • Being a lot more secretive
  • Fashion changes
  • Friend group changes
  • Changes in hobbies and interests

But, when should you be concerned and it becomes more than what we’ve seen by the angsty teenage definition?

Signs That It May Be More Than Teenager Angst

There are many things that could be affecting your teen and some of these could be things such as anxiety, depression, or suicidality which is really hard for every teen and is also hard for parents too. But what are some possible signs of these conditions?

  • Feeling guilty and worthless
  • Needing frequent reassurance and compliments
  • Becoming irritable and frustrated a lot easier
  • Insomnia or too much sleeping
  • Dark approach to life
  • Using drugs and alcohol
  • Losing weight or gaining weight noticeably
  • Not caring as much about what they look like
  • Scared of being away from home
  • Extreme worry
  • Physical symptoms as a result of this extreme worry such as anxiety attacks
  • Tiredness
  • Refusing to go to school or work
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Making comments about suicide
  • Not wanting to take part in things they used to enjoy
  • Self destructive behavior
  • Wearing longer sleeves to cover possible marks

How Do I Help?

Having an angsty teen can be tough on everyone but there are plenty of ways you can help your teenager to get out of their rut. It’s not easy but you can do it with the help of some of our tips.

It’s really important that you take a look at yourself as a parent first because sometimes teen angst can come from parents. Asking yourself the following questions could help with determining whether some of the angst could be coming from your direction:

  • Am I judgmental?
  • Am I offering solutions without them asking me to?
  • Am I breaking some boundaries that may have been discussed?
  • Has my teen asked me to stop talking about something and I still am?

Communication is key – There isn’t any doubt about this here too. It’s really important that you communicate with your teen so that you fully understand what’s going through their head and what you can provide for them to feel a little better. So, here are some of our tips to help your teen to feel themselves again.

  • Spend time with them – You may think that the last thing any teen would want to do is spend time with their parents and family but trust us, sometimes it’s exactly what they’re missing in their lives. Try and find something you can all do together like a movie night on a Friday or a walk to the park every Monday – things like this do go a long way. Another thing you may find helpful is showing an interest in the things they’re into. This could be downloading apps that they enjoy or watching the sport they enjoy – don’t just do this as a tick box exercise but genuinely find some interest in it, it’ll be worth it.
  • Give them space – Yes, it’s important to spend time with your teen but sometimes they just need that little more space to figure everything out on their own. At the end of the day, you’re not always going to be there to sort out their problems and so sometimes they do need to figure it out on their own. This may also lead to them admitting that they do sometimes need your help but figuring this out on their own rather than you telling them will make it a lot easier for everyone involved. If they ask you to stop pushing then stop pushing and give them that space.
  • Ask them how you can help – Dealing with angst is hard so sometimes directly asking your teen how you can help can be a good way of helping them. Often, they won’t want a solution but would much rather a safe space to vent or share their emotions. Sit there and listen and don’t judge – this is vital. Then after they’re done, ask them how they want you to help. We also urge you not to get frustrated with them if they don’t know – we all know the feeling of overwhelming emotion and not knowing a solution and that’s fine.
  • Journalling – Getting your teen to write down their emotions or to vent on a piece of paper can work wonders and sometimes it’s a great way to get those emotions out. This is also a great way to practice mindfulness and remember that all journals look different. Some teens will want to draw their emotions and express them through art whilst others want to scribble down their angst in anger – this is all okay. This one may be tough to hear as a parent but don’t go snooping through their journal – this will break any trust or communication bonds that you may have worked on together. You can also bring in the idea of gratitude to these journals and get them to consider what they’re grateful for in their life or to list 5 things a day that made them happy.

Teenage Angst

So if you’re dealing with an angsty teenager, that’s okay. Of course, it’s hard on everyone. It’s hard for your kid because they’re feeling all these new emotions and don’t quite know how to deal with them. There’s no doubt that it’s hard for families too as you may feel like you’ve lost your kid a little bit or you’ve lost that connection you once had together and that’s okay. The truth is, they’ll normally grow out of the angsty phase but always keep your eye out for the signs that it could be a little more than just teenage angst.

If you think that it is more than teenager angst and that your kid is suffering from anxiety, depression, or something of the sort then it’s worth seeking professional help just in case. But, you don’t have to wait until it gets really bad to find a professional. In fact, therapists are always willing to help no matter what. Remember to give your child space and approach the idea of therapy with some ease because it can be quite tough for kids to go through.

About Emma Davies

Emma Davies is a freelance writer that specializes parenting and animal topics. With over 20 years experience as a parent there are very few topics that faze her.

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