Does your teen seem stressed out? At the end of the day, are they often flustered, irritable or completely exhausted? Are they hesitant to go to school or often feel sick due to worry? Are they anxious when you talk about what’s to come in the future, like college plans? Do they burn themselves out by committing to too many social or school-related activities?
Feeling some level of stress is normal, but if your child is constantly tense or losing sleep, it’s time to do something. Here’s how you can help to alleviate stress
in children and teens.
WHAT CAUSES STRESS IN TEENS?
Teen stress statistics show that the most common causes of stress in teens is school work, their parents, problems with their friends and romantic relationships. Understanding the dynamics of teen stress and what may be on your teen’s plate is the first step in helping them cope with issues that are troubling them. Once you understand the main causes of stress, you can better see situations from their perspective and help your teen start seeing problems as opportunities rather than obstacles.
HOW DO TEENS DEAL WITH STRESS?
The way you deal with stress and how your teen manages it can look very different. If you don’t know their coping methods, you may mistake their stress for “typical teen angst,” which spins into rebellion, anger or even depression. Girls are more likely to withdraw from their friends and family while boys tend to be irritable or talk back. Knowing how your teen likes to deal with stress will help you identify what they’re really feeling and assist them in becoming better masters of their emotions.
STRESS MANAGEMENT FOR TEENS
Helping your child deal with teen stress is important not only to manage their anxiety now, but to also develop solid coping strategies for the future. If they don’t learn how to effectively deal with stress, they could go on to develop anxiety disorders or their health could suffer. As their parent, here are some ways you can assist them in creating strategies that work.
1. COMMUNICATE WITH THEM OPENLY
Children aren’t always able to communicate candidly with their parents, but it’s worth speaking with your child about teen stress. Ask them what is driving them to take on so much: Do they think they won’t be able to get into a good college otherwise? Are they trying to please you? Are they trying to keep up with their peers?Teenagers are often fearful about the unknown. Most of all, they’re afraid to fail. They’re afraid to disappoint their parents. They’re worried about not being enough.
Find out if your teen has something specific that’s at the base of their fear. When you can understand the root cause of their anxiety, you can lovingly soothe their fears, help them see the beauty of uncertainty
and guide them to an effective solution.
2. ASSESS YOUR EXPECTATIONS
When speaking to your teen, do you place unwarranted pressure on them? Every parent wants their child to succeed, but we sometimes express this desire in ways that are actually harmful to teens’ mental health. Focus only on what you and your teen can control. Have an action plan with your child in terms of future growth, and ask them what they want to achieve, but don’t place sky-high expectations on them. As referenced above, teen stress statistics show that their parents are one of the major causes of stress. When you have too high of expectations, you’re sending a message to your child that they have to earn your love with achievements.For instance, if your child is talented in the sciences but also enjoys a more creative field like writing, it can be tempting to discuss your dreams of them becoming a doctor or an engineer. You’re trying to steer them toward a respectable, profitable profession, but if your child really wants to be a teacher or journalist, you might be putting unwarranted pressure on them. The more you pressure your child to act a certain way, the less comfortable they’ll be in coming to you when they do encounter problems and the more likely they will feel the need to achieve goals to be accepted.
3. HELP THEM ADJUST THEIR DIET AND EXERCISE ROUTINES
Sometimes, teen stress in your child’s life can be intensified by a poor diet and exercise routine
. Is your teenager living off pizza and chips? Does your child regularly down soda or feast on sugary snacks? Kids need proper nutrition, just like adults. Encourage them to start adopting a sustainable health diet
by cooking meals made of whole grains and vegetables and providing easy-to-grab snacks like raw veggies and hummus.Proper exercise is also an important part of stress management for teens. Don’t assume your teenager is getting all the necessary exercise they need at school. Make an effort to take walks with them in the evening or plan family hiking or biking trips on the weekends. By ensuring your child is eating and exercising properly, they’ll not only feel better, but they’ll relieve teen stress, experience the power of endorphins and have a healthier sleep cycle.
4. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THEIR SOCIAL LIFE
On top of dealing with school, looking toward the future and participating in extracurricular activities, your child is also likely involved in a lot of social activities. This can either benefit your child immensely or lead to teen stress. There are a lot of societal pressures on teenagers; check in with your child to see if they’re having issues with bullying, being pressured into experimenting with substances or are having unsafe relationships online.
Social media is an added layer of pressure for teens these days. When teens and adult influencers are able to highlight the best portions of their lives on social media, their peers can often feel inadequate in comparison. If social media is hurting your teen, you may want to consider limiting their screen time or taking them to a seminar or workshop that helps them cope with social networking.
Everyone deals with stress to some degree, but if your teenager is being negatively affected, it’s time to take action. Always let your child know that you have their best interest at heart
and that it’s alright for them to come to you with any problems they face.As Tony Robbins says, “The real joy in life comes from finding your true purpose and aligning it with what you do every single day.” Don’t let your teen become bogged down with the things that don’t matter like social media or anxieties about the past. Encourage them to focus on what really matters to them and they’ll be able to exist in a productive, joyful state.