by Shelby Turner
At The Daily Grace Co., we often ask our customers for suggestions on what type of resources they would like us to produce. Recently, when we asked for this feedback, one of the most requested topics was teenage anxiety. Many parents expressed their desire to help their teen overcome their anxiety in a gospel-centered way, but they were not sure how to do this. Well, I’m so pleased to tell you that while The Daily Grace Co. is considering ways in which we can help meet this need, there is also an excellent resource available to anxious teens and their parents right now.
David Murray has written two books on anxiety that will give both teens and parents the tools they need to connect on this important issue. For teens, he has written Why Am I Feeling Like This? A Teen’s Guide to Freedom from Anxiety and Depression and for parents of teens, he has written a companion book, Why is My Teenager Feeling Like This? A Guide for Helping Teens Through Anxiety and Depression.
Why did David Murray write a book for teens struggling with anxiety and a book for their parents? He says, “Rarely will teens recover from anxiety and depression without adult help. The adults closest to them have a vital role to play, and this guide will help parents and adults minister to hurting teens” (Parent Book, Page 11).
The teen book is engaging, easy to read, and gospel-centered. It shares the stories of 18 different fictional teenagers who are experiencing anxiety for a variety of reasons and at various degrees. A few of the sources of anxiety mentioned in the book are abuse, academics, dating relationships, bullying, eating disorders, mental illness, shame, and technology. Each source is addressed from a biblical worldview which gives parents and teens a solid understanding of how to approach these sometimes confusing topics.
After each story is presented, Murray provides a key God has graciously provided to help unlock the chains of teen anxiety. Then, he encourages teens to turn this key in their own life by providing Scripture, simple exercises, and a short prayer. The keys range from Scripture to prayer to medication to exercise to digital detox. The keys for anxiety are as varied as the causes of it. Ultimately, every chapter and story leads the teen back to their need for God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The parent book contains a deeper explanation of where teen anxiety comes from and the possible tools for it. It also contains additional commentary not included in the teen book on how to meet your teen where they are and help them through the angsts of anxiety. Chapter after chapter is chock-full of biblically solid, hopeful, and practical advice. Anxiety and depression sometimes require intervention from medical and psychiatric professionals, and the book will recommend involving these professionals when appropriate and as resources allow.
Parents will probably find the introduction of the parent book equally as helpful as the main content of the book. Murray shares how parents can connect to their hurting teens, strategies for starting conversations with teens about anxiety, and current statistics that help explain the teenage anxiety epidemic. You could simply state his encouragement to parents this way:
If your teen is struggling with anxiety, acknowledge it, accept it, and commit to working alongside them to help overcome it, even if the process is lengthy.
His overall encouragement is that there is help for teenage anxiety. God has supplied us with ample resources to remove the bondage that anxiety and depression cause in teenagers. Why is My Teenager Feeling Like This? and Why Am I Feeling Like This? are compassionate, well-informed, and gospel-centered resources that will serve as the guides you and your teen need to take steps towards overcoming anxiety and depression together.
While the books reviewed above have advice specifically for anxious teens and their parents, The Daily Grace Co. offers several resources that can help anyone who is struggling with anxiety. I recommend checking out the Bible studies: It Is Well: Walking Away from Anxiety and Into God’s Word and Never Alone: Walking with God Through Depression. Resources like the Scripture for Anxiety Journal and Prayers for Anxiety verse cards are wonderfully helpful as well.
Finally, if you ever feel that you or your teen are in danger of harm because of anxious or depressive thoughts, we call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 800-273-8255.
There is help and hope for teenage anxiety. I hope the books reviewed and resources listed in this blog will be a springboard to healing and wholeness for you and your teen.