The teenage years are fraught with difficulties. Changing hormones, new relationships and a body that's growing quickly can cause many teenagers to feel ill at ease. As a parent, you can help your son or daughter cope with this insecurity. Education and clear communication can help strengthen your family relationships.
Hormonal Changes or Puberty Can Trigger Insecurity
According to Iowa State University, the same hormones that trigger physical changes during puberty set off a series of emotional changes, too. Your teenager's emotions might be running rampant, from happiness one moment to extreme sadness the next. These emotional changes might also include shyness or insecurity. Your teen might feel anxious about the changes they are undergoing, and the changes they're seeing in their friends.
Body Image Issues are Common for Teens
As your teenager's body grows and changes, do your best to reassure her that the physical changes she's experiencing are normal. Emphasize healthy eating and provide a variety of foods. The UT Extension Agency suggests that parents also avoid referring to body size as either a strength or a weakness, and instead use neutral terms when speaking about your teens body. If you are concerned that your daughter is overweight, consult your family physician. The doctor will be able to advise you about healthy weights for teenagers, and guide your teen toward a healthier diet and lifestyle.
Bullying May Exacerbate Your Teen's Insecurity
If your teenager is already feeling shy or insecure, being teased or bullied can only make the problem worse. Pay attention to how your teen behaves, how he speaks about his friends and how he interacts with them. If you notice a sudden change, such as a refusal to use a cell phone or a dramatic drop in computer use, ask your child if there's anything he'd like to talk about. Cyberbullying is becoming increasingly common among teenagers, and can have severe repercussions. If your teenager is being bullied, take appropriate steps with the school system or law enforcement. You might also consider counseling to help your teenager deal with the issue.
When Parents Should Seek Help
If your teen becomes excessively shy or anxious, or refuses to leave the house or interact with others, you might need to seek help. She might be struggling with anxiety or simple teenage insecurity, or she might be experiencing something more severe. If the problem is affecting your son or daughter's daily life, work or school, you should consult a medical or psychological worker for guidance.