What Are the Top 10 Things Teens Worry About?

By Sara Ipatenco
Most teens worry about what others think of them.

Just as you worry about your teenager's health and well-being, your teenager has worries of her own, such as what her friends think of her and where she'll go to college. Most teens have many things demanding their time, including school, family, friends, extra-curricular activities and part-time jobs. All of these responsibilities can cause worry and anxiety about whether your teen will be able to live up to all of the expectations in her life. While they have numerous small worries, almost all teens tend to worry about the same big things.

School and Time Commitments

Grades are tangible evidence of achievement and intelligence, and even teens who don't get stellar marks worry about what their grades say about them. One-third of respondents to a back-to-school survey conducted by TeensHealth indicated that they worried about how well they would do on their school work as the start of a new school year draws near. Having enough time to meet assignment deadlines and live up to academic expectations can also be a source of anxiety.

Appearance and Fitting In

Being liked and having friends is something all children desire, but teens are particularly susceptible to equating their self-worth with how well they fit in with their peers. In fact, 30 percent of teens responding to the TeensHealth survey stated that social issues were their biggest worry when it comes to school. Teens experience a range of bodily changes -- some of which affect their appearance -- and this can cause angst, especially when the changes make them look different from their peers. Many teens also worry that how they look will have an impact on how well they fit in.

Peer Pressure and Personal Beliefs

Teens naturally want to fit in and be liked by their peers, which can motivate them to do things they know are wrong or that make them uncomfortable. For example, a teen might start smoking cigarettes because someone he wants to be friends with encourages him to do so. Teens also tend to worry about whether they'll be able to stand up for what they believe. Saying no to peer pressure is particularly difficult for teens who have low self-esteem, according to the Parenting and Child Health.

Love and Sex

The teen years are often marked with changes in how teens see the opposite sex, and many teenagers worry about whether they're desirable enough to attract a boyfriend or girlfriend. Teens attached to a partner often worry about whether the relationship will last and how they'll deal with a breakup. Many teens are also concerned about whether they're ready to have sex or that if they don't have sex, their partners will break up with them. Some teens are also anxious about sexual activity in relation to their spiritual or religious beliefs, according to Dr. John T. Chirban, author of "How to Talk with Your Kids about Sex."

Family and Other Expectations

Teens might act indifferent about spending time with their families, but deep inside most teens value these relationships immensely, the Family Education website notes. Teens might worry about their own relationships with parents and siblings, as well as the relationship between their parents. Teens -- especially those approaching the end of high school -- also begin looking to the future. Many teens worry about getting into a good college and how they'll handle being away from their families and homes for the first time. Some teens begin worrying about finding a good job, as well.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.