Ep 272: Helping Teens Discuss Anxiety

Cai Graham, author of Fearless and Free, joins us to offer practical strategies for helping teens open up about their anxiety, break through communication barriers, and understand the science of their emotions, guiding them from silent struggles to active coping.

If you've enjoyed Talking to Teens, we'd love if you could leave us a five-star rating, and if you have time, a review! 

Full Show Notes

Navigating the turbulent waters of teenage anxiety can often feel like a daunting task for parents. Teenagers, caught in the storm of hormonal changes and social pressures, might close off, leaving us struggling to reach them. When they do grapple with anxiety, many teens lack the vocabulary or the comfort level to express what's happening inside them, and this silence can create a divide between them and the support they need. On the other hand, parents may feel helpless or at a loss for the right words when they notice their teen's distress. But there's hope—and it begins with understanding, communication, and the tools to change the narrative around anxiety.

Enter our guest, Cai Graham, a parenting and teen coach, speaker, podcaster, and the insightful author behind the workbook "Fearless and Free - A Step by Step Blueprint to Conquer Anxiety." Cai brings to light the nuances of teenage anxiety from both parental and adolescent perspectives, delivering frameworks and actionable tactics for starting those necessary conversations.

Understanding Anxiety's Hold on Teens

Cai dives deep into the heart of anxiety, explaining the biology behind it, and destigmatizing the experience for both teens and their parents. She dismantles the shame that can often shroud feelings of anxiety, unpacking why teens might feel a troubling sense of isolation when confronting their worries. By reframing these emotions as natural, Cai enables parents to foster an environment where teens can approach their apprehension without fear of judgment.

Communication Tools for Tough Talks

Cai introduces the 'three questions'—a game-changing tool for parents to get teens talking without overwhelming them. This exercise offers teens the space they need to measure their emotional temperature in a safe space. Through this straightforward approach, the dialogues that once seemed impossible start to flow, creating a foundation for mutual understanding and trust.

The Role of Self-Compassion in Healing

Self-compassion is key in the fight against anxiety. Cai urges both parents and teens to exercise it, arguing that it's crucial in the face of setbacks. By examining failure as feedback, not defeat, teens can learn resilience. Cai's discussion on self-compassion serves as a powerful reminder for parents to lead by example in how they handle their own imperfections, ultimately guiding their teens by showing them that being gentle with oneself is not only okay—it's necessary.

Navigating Panic and Anxiety: KNOW the Difference

Cai brilliantly differentiates between anxiety and panic, illustrating to parents why understanding the distinction matters. She presents methods to help teens address and cope with the sudden onset of panic as opposed to the simmering worries of anxiety, equipping families with the knowledge to tackle each appropriately.

Practical Strategies for Calming the Chaos

Armed with tactics like 'brain dumping' and the THINK framework, Cai teaches teens how to prioritize tasks and address the onslaught of negative internal dialogue that can exacerbate anxiety. These strategies are essential tools for empowering teens to take control of their emotional and practical worlds.

In this episode, Cai Graham guides us through:
   - The power of naming emotions to conquer anxiety
   - Coaching teens to manage their to-do lists and calm their minds
   - Techniques for grounding and self-soothing during anxious moments
   - How to model effective coping strategies to inspire anxious adolescents

To discover more about Cai Graham's work in supporting families through the journey of adolescence and anxiety, visit CaiGraham.com, or check out her book "Fearless and Free" on Amazon for a comprehensive guide to help your teen thrive.

Tune in to learn how you can help your teen transition from anxiety to assurance with the expert advice from Cai Graham. Don’t forget to listen, share, and subscribe to Talking to Teens for weekly insights on guiding teens through their most formative years.

Follow us on Social Media! We're @talkingtoteens on Instagram and TikTok

Creators and Guests

Andy Earle
Andy Earle
Host of the Talking to Teens Podcast and founder of Write It Great
Cai Graham
Cai Graham
Author : The TEEN Toolbox : Equipping Parents and Teenagers with the Tools to Navigate Adolescence
Ep 272: Helping Teens Discuss Anxiety
Broadcast by