Human beings experience worries and fears at some point in their lives. These may be due to numerous factors as fear is defined as an essential response of the body when danger or legitimate threat is identified. It is an adaptive instinct that has been developed in humans in order to survive. This emotion was extremely crucial in ancient times where dangers are lurking at every turn. On the other hand, worry is explained as repeated thoughts, emotions and images of negative nature towards a danger or threat.
Teenage years are always said to be a turbulent stage due to a combination of different factors. Adolescents 13 to 19 accompanied by physical growth spurts as well as changes mentally and emotionally is not an easy stride. As a kid, they are usually troubled by trivial and menial concerns such as play time & friends. During adolescence, the person changes in terms of mental capabilities and their development of deductive reasoning. The once play-focused child is slowly contemplating on more abstract matters such as planning his or her future, alternative solutions, seeing the gray areas and engaging in topics like politics, religion, philosophy, morality, fairness, and relationships.
“When your teen has an anxiety disorder, their extreme fear of being judged or rejected by others in social or school situations can be devastating. These behavior disorders can make life seem unbearable for young people, and the symptoms can disrupt daily life for their families, too,” says Scott Bea, a clinical psychologist. Some teenagers may perceive these changes as abrupt and unfamiliar, thus may be a source of their worries and fear. In fact, according to some studies, teenagers are worried and fearful about a number of things.
Fear of Rejection
Teenagers are fixated on being part of a group or the need to belong. These needs were once satisfied just by being part of a family, however, a paradigm shift happens during adolescence. These affirmations are solicited from cliques, peer group, classmates, and gangs.
Fear of Heartbreak
During the teenage years, adolescents usually experience their first romantic relationships. First heartbreaks are extremely life-changing, especially for female teenagers. Oftentimes, they would feel like it is the end of the world and turn to self-destructive behaviors just to compensate or to lessen the feeling of the breakup.
Fear of rumors/scandal
According to Dr. Jeff Nalin a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. “If you have a teenager who uses social media on a daily basis, it’s important you learn how social media can cause depression and other problems.” Social media was once an unknown form of communication but now is considered as a significant part of the life of a millennial. News, rumors, and scandals are now digital and can spread faster than a wildfire and can reach millions, globally. Imagine, one erroneous text, photo or video can ruin the reputation of a person. Oftentimes, judgment and criticism are given digitally based on that single instance or encounter with complete disregard of circumstances.
Fear of failure
“Anxiety and depression are very commonly co-occurring, because if anxiety stops the child from doing things that are developmentally appropriate,” says Donna B. Pincus, Ph.D. Teenagers, nowadays, are under a lot of pressure to excel more than ever. The competition is steep. Today, getting straight A’s is not enough. Students are expected to excel in extracurricular activities such as volunteer work, the arts, learning languages, and the likes. With these expectations, teenagers are forced to strive for perfection and we all know that any pursuits of perfection are damaging to self-esteem.
Fear of adults
The fear of adults is not based on their age, per se. It is the fear of authority. Adolescents typically see the authority as a sort of barrier or hindrance to their frivolous choices. Parents usually set curfews and standards of decorum to teenagers that they may misconstrue as a form of hindrance to their self-expression and identity.
Fear of the future
The teenage years are seen as a limbo between childhood and adulthood. One is expected to act as an adult, but at the same time, treated as a child. College, scholarships, leaving home, part-time jobs, and possible sources of income are just a few of the concerns that fuel the uncertainty for the future.
Fear of parents’ divorce
The looming threat of divorce is always present. Statistics show that almost half of marriages end in divorce. While having a complete family might be the ideal environment for raising children, society has seen different kinds of family that might be labeled as nontraditional but is successful, to say the least. Despite these changes and society’s acceptance, teenagers would typically prefer to have their birth mothers and fathers to stay together; they are fearful of the effects of divorce to their families. Some may foresee relocation, financial woes, losing quality time with parents/sibling, among other things, as possible negative results of divorce.
Fear of violence
Reports of abduction, terrorism, campus rapes, mass shootings, police brutality, and a lot more make us believe that safety is not the norm. Like any other individual, teenagers also share this fear of violence or that these types of crimes will happen to someone close to them.
Fears and worries are emotions and feelings that evoke powerful motivation for action. One needs to discern when to act on these emotions and when to let go of worry of issues that are simply out of his/her control. Harboring constant fear is extremely harmful to your health and mental well-being. Sometimes, teenagers find comfort in the use of internet and chat room communications where they can reach out and meet other persons online.