Today’s teen beginning the journey to adulthood has to face pressures like no other generation before. The increasing freedom which adolescence promises is compounded by conflicts surrounding body image, school and homework pressures, peer conflicts as well as the usual shifting family boundary struggles. Everyone has different ways of coping (or not) with stress.
If your teen’s behavior has changed suddenly, he or she is becoming erratic or withdrawn, it may be a reaction to stress. Here are some signs that your teen is stressed:
- Problems sleeping: difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep can be a sign of stress. The longer your teen suffers from insomnia, the more prone she will be to stress.
- Stomach pains and headaches: prolonged stress often leads to physical health problems.
- Problems at school: stress-related problems can affect your child’s schoolwork. If your teenager’s grades have suddenly declined this could be a sign of stress and worry.
- Irritability: Adolescence is a time of turbulent moods, but a teen who is stressed is likely to be more irritable than usual.
- Isolation: if your teen is not socializing as much as she used to, this could be a sign that she’s overwhelmed by stress.
- Difficulty concentrating: when teens are suffering from stress, it’s difficult for them to concentrate on their work.
- Negative talk: stressed-out teens will often use a lot of negative talk such as “nothing ever goes right for me,” or “nobody likes me.”
How to Help Your Teen Manager Stress
There are many ways to help your teen manage stress, and the first is to notice your own stress levels and how you react under pressure. Be a good role model and also try these tips:
- Encourage physical activity: exercise and sports are great stress relievers. Encourage your teen to be active in sports in school and play outside with them when they’re home.
- Promote good sleep hygiene: make sure your teen goes to bed at a regular time each night and gets enough sleep. Try to encourage her to have some quiet time before bed, to unwind.
- Encourage coloring: adult coloring is great for relieving stress. It lowers the heart rate, blood pressure and slows breathing, It also encourages focus and creativity. Your teen can take a coloring book app with her wherever she goes.
- Teach relaxation: show your child some breathing exercises to help her relax. You could also provide her with relaxation or creative visualization sound recordings or videos.
- Talk about it: it’s much easier to handle stress when you can share your concerns with someone else. If you can see signs that your teen is stressed out, talk to her about it. Tell her about some times in your life when you felt overwhelmed by stress and what you did to cope with it.
Keep a lookout for stress indicators in your teenager.
Teach your teenager techniques to help her maintain low stress levels and lead a healthy life.