Trying to have collaborative discussions with your teen can be difficult. Talking about anxiety, which can bring on stress just by mentioning it, can be especially challenging. While some teens are willing and eager to discuss their stress and work on solutions, many avoid the topic or feel there are no possible answers. The following are a few options to help frame the discussion in ways that can increase collaboration.

Starting the conversation: Focus on empathic listening and understanding the problem from your teen’s perspective. Try to avoid injecting your perspective or assuming you know your teen’s concerns.

The invitation: Express your view/concern and desire to work together to address the issue. Work to come to an agreement about your role in providing support or help.

Brainstorm: Generate realistic ways of approaching working on stress. Those can include using anxiety workbooks, adjusting schedules, creating a family exercise routine, etc.

Review Agreement: Finally create a plan to reassess the chosen approach together. Decide on when you will sit down and review what you have tried and evaluate how well it has worked.