Family vacations should be some of the happiest times of your entire year. You plan new adventures and activities and can’t wait to see how your kids react. Unfortunately, anxiety can derail even the best-laid plans. Just like ADHD symptoms in 13 year olds, anxiety in teenagers is often confused with personality traits such as being introverted, shy, or fearful. Telling your teen to get over it and participate isn’t going to result in a better vacation. Instead, try to follow this advice while traveling so you can help your anxious teen enjoy vacation.
Involve Your Teen
Get your child involved early on in the planning process. Vacations take a lot of planning, and there are good reasons why you should include your kids when you’re making plans, especially if you have a teenager with anxiety. Offering a lot of information in advance can help your child feel prepared for what’s coming, and it even offers you the opportunity to receive feedback and make changes to your itinerary where appropriate. By crafting your vacation together, your teen will feel empowered and in control of their anxiety.
One critical parenting strategy you need to focus on when it comes to anxious teens is to be supportive. If your teen expresses worries and fears about a specific event or destination on your itinerary, hear them out. Try to see things from their point of view and work through problem-solving before you’re in the middle of a stressful situation. Acknowledging their reality helps build trust and establishes a safe environment between you and your teen.
Some common behaviors that you need to avoid when dealing with an anxious teen are:
- Criticizing their behavior
- Blaming yourself or your teen
- Canceling your plans
- Using unhelpful labels
Accommodate Your Teen
Without completely changing your plans for your vacation, you can accommodate your teen’s anxiety to some extent. Along with exploring natural anxiety medication for teenager, take your child’s condition into account when you’re listing places you want to go and activities you want to do. There’s no reason to force your kid into confronting one triggering situation after another.
At the same time, it can hinder your child’s progress if you allow their anxiety to determine the course of your family vacation. Talk about these challenges early with your teen. Make sure that everyone has a voice when it comes to doing something they want to do on vacation. If your teen is going to feel uncomfortable and anxious on the beach one day, you could dedicate the following day to staying indoors in a quiet environment such as an art or history museum.
Take Your Time
Remember that you’ll need to take your time when you’re traveling with an anxious teen. Before you set off on your adventure, come to terms with the fact that you will need to leave extra time for some aspects of your vacation such as getting ready in the morning, making it to the train or bus station on time, and more. Keeping your expectations realistic will make everyone happier.
If your teen is on medication, make sure that you take enough for your whole trip. Discover how an ADHD and anxiety medication combination can help your teen navigate mental health issues and feel their best.