In this episode Helen Wills and Lorena Salazar talk about how stress can affect teenagers, the long-term implications of unmanaged worry, and how to support a teenager with anxiety.
When Lorena was 14 she was diagnosed with gastritis, caused by stress. Eventually she was told she had a gastric ulcer, and by the time she was in college her anxiety was so bad it had affected her immune system, and infection had taken hold. Lorena almost died.
I'm Helen Wills, and each week I talk to someone who went through a difficult time in their teenage years, but came through it in a good place. My guests offer insight and tips for parents of teens who might be going through similar, and hope for young people who need a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
How anxiety begins in children:
Worry is normal, but when it becomes long-term it can start to wear down a child's defences. Lorena talks about how her parents' separation and a move to a new school started with small worries, and progressed to physical symptoms of anxiety.
Lots of teens suffer heightened anxiety around friendship issues, especially when they try to fit in with a popular group of peers. Lorena gives great self-confidence tips for teens on living according to your own needs rather than living up to the expectations of others.
How to support a teenager with depression or anxiety:
Lorena talks about
- how parents might struggle to help teens who don't think their parents really get it
- how keeping consistent with offers of support pays off eventually
- how teens need to feel ready to seek help before it will work for them.
Eventually Lorena was able to see that there was a positive way out of her anxiety, and used therapy to recover and manage her feelings.
There's also good advice for adults on how to avoid the competitive culture we live in that values productivity over wellness.
Who is Lorena Salazar?
Lorena Salazar is a wellness coach from Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband and two children. She is on a mission to help 1 million women with anxiety reclaim their power, feel confident and live joyful lives.
In April 2021 Lorena is relaunching her free wellness accountability group for moms/mums. She says it's perfect for those who want to stay on track with their wellness goals and benefit from checking in with a group of like minded people.
More teenage parenting tips from Helen Wills:
There are lots more episodes of the Teenage Kicks podcast. You can email me on [email protected]. I’ve also got some posts on the blog that might help parents with other teenage parenting dilemmas, so do pop over to Actually Mummy if you fancy a read.
Thank you so much for listening! Subscribe now to the Teenage Kicks podcast to hear all my new episodes. I'll be talking to some fabulous guests about difficult things that happened to them as teenagers - including losing a parent, becoming a young carer, and being hospitalised with mental health problems - and how they overcame things to move on with their lives.
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Please note that Helen Wills is not a medical expert, and nothing in the podcast should be taken as medical advice. If you're worried about a teenager, please seek support from a medical professional.
Teenage Kicks Podcast
Welcome to the Teenage Kicks podcast, where we take the fear out of parenting - or becoming - a teenager. The internet is full of parenting advice, from when you feel those first baby kicks, until they reach secondary school. And then it stops. No one is talking about teen parenting problems; so we’re going to.
Essential listening for teenagers and their parents, as well as those who work with young adults; Teenage Kicks has teen mental health at its core, and each episode will empower young people to tackle their own problems, and give parents the guidance to know how to help them.
Each week Helen speaks to real individuals who've experienced the issues that young people are dealing with now, and they don't sugar-coat it. From exam nerves and career worries to issues around sexuality and consent, we get tips and advice from expert guests who understand what it’s like to be a teenager today.
Helen will also be chatting about tough teenage problems like cyberbullying and self-harm, drugs, alcohol and teenage pregnancy, all with a heavy dose of reality from someone who's been there and made it through to the other side.
Teenage Kicks for Parents:
As parents, we understand some of our kids’ struggles, but let’s face it, it’s been a while, and things have moved on since we last panicked over a detention! Teenage choices today can seem alien to their parents because teenage life has changed so dramatically since we were young. Teenage Kicks helps you unravel topics like social media, sexting and teen self-esteem so that you can figure out what your child needs support with, and what’s just normal teenage behaviour.
Teenage Kicks for Teens:
Teenagers and parents come at things from different angles, we know. But teenage life can be challenging, and the support of your parents can make navigating tricky dilemmas easier. Teenage Kicks guests aren’t adults who’ve read a textbook; nor are they heavily invested in your day-to-day safety, like your mum and dad. They are real people who’ve been through what you’re dealing with, and they have the inspiration and advice you need to handle it yourself.
Join Helen each week as she chats to a different guest about topics affecting teenagers in 2020, and helps parents and teens to open up a dialogue that will make life easier to navigate on all sides.
You'll also find me chatting about teen parenting here:
This series of the Teenage Kicks Podcast is sponsored by Blue Microphones, who gave me the fabulous Yeticaster mic for all my recordings. It's really straightforward to use, and gives me great sound quality without too much editing.