How-To HELP & EASE stress in your teenager
Stress in your teenager: Are you worried about stress in your teenager? Or you have you ever felt that your teen is always depressed without any apparent reason?
As a parent many times I have felt the same thing about my younger child. Sometimes he laughs a lot and suddenly he becomes upset for no reason. I was disturbed by his behavior.
To know the reason, I asked him what’s going on or if there was anything wrong. I came to know that he was stressed about his studies. He had thought that he can’t perform well in the coming exams.
I am sure as a parent you may also go through this kind of situation many times. Or you don’t know how to deal with teens mood swings. What are the causes of my teen’s stress? How does stress affects my teen? How to find solution for my teen’s stress?
In this blog, I will try to address stress in teens completely from all angles. I will share with you tips that have helped me in my parenting journey so that this knowledge and information can help you in your journey.
- 12 Probable causes of stress in your teenager
- 15 common signs to spot stress in your teenager
- 10 side effects of stress parents should know about
- Way to diagnose stress (N-U-T-S Method)
- 10 things you can do to help deal with stress in your teenager
- And 10 Effective stress coping mechanism to teach your teen
- Important Note to parents
- Video Time – Experts Speak
Stress is a condition in which a person feels frustrated, nervous, and angry. Stress is a bodily reaction to any challenge.
We can say stress is the body and mind’s reaction to any incoming danger or threat. Everyone experiences stress through all stages of life.
I would say, stress in teens is not bad completely. Sometimes stress helps our teens reach their goals or meet deadlines. Stress can be positive when it helps in the accomplishment of a goal.
Excess of everything is bad. When there is excess feeling of stress and frustration, children tend to become unable to perform work activities.
So, it is very important for parents to help manage stress in their teens. Because negative stress can affect a child’s performance and mental health badly.
12 Probable causes of stress in your teenager
- Studies pressure: This the most common cause of stress in teens. Usually teens become over worried about their coming exams or homework and assignment submission or marks.
- Relationships stress: Being too emotional, teens often stressed about relationships. They could also feel stressed about toxic friendships or relationships.
- Work pressure: Teens can feel stress when there are too many things to do.
- Stress about any change: If you move from one place to another, or you change the school of your teen often, there is more possibility your teen feels stressed about these changes.
- Disturbed sleep patterns: This can also cause stress in your teenager as it will make it difficult for your child to be active or think clearly.
- Parental relationship: This is also the most common cause of stress in teens. When there is uncomfortable environment at home because of disturbed relationship between parents. Children usually become depressed and frustrated when the environment at home is not happy.
- Unable to Meet with expectations: When teens become unable to meet expectations, they become frustrated and stressed, be it at home or school.
- Overwhelmed or too busy: When your teen is loaded with work which becomes too much to handle for your teen.
- Stress in home environment: If there is any stress in the environment where your teen in. Stress due to finances, loss, sickness, etc.
- Being too rigid or unable to adapt or adjust: If your teen is very rigid in their opinion or outlook and struggles to adapt to changes. It can even be good changes like welcoming a new baby.
- Negative Outlook or pessimism: When your teen goes through experiences that makes them develop a negative outlook towards life. Sometimes when their friends have such an outlook it can rub in on your teen.
- High standards and expectations: When you or their sibling or their social group are a bunch of achievers and set high standards or expectations from your teen.
15 common signs to spot stress in your teenager
I have listed below few tell-tale signs that can give you an indication of stress in your teenager. If it is a one-off occurrence there is little to be worried.
But when it occurs often, or your instinct tells you that something is off in your teenager’s behavior, trust it and try to have a conversation with your teenager.
- Doing poorly in academics due to memory problems and not able to concentrate.
- Being hazed out, unable to decide, unsure of self and show poor judgment
- Have a negative outlook, mostly anxious about everything and is constantly worrying
- Is moody and has anger outbursts and is frequently irritable.
- Not being themselves. Usually gloomy and generally unhappy.
- Appearing to be busy and feels overwhelmed.
- Feeling tired or drowsy most of the time
- Visibly nervous. Nail bites, or jerking legs, pacing floor, using stress buster equipment.
- Disengaged, withdrawn, locks self into room, prefers being alone.
- Substance abuse inclination.
- Displays erratic sleep routines. No sleep or too much sleep.
- Binge eating or loss of appetite
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
- Shows physical manifestation of stress like having frequent headaches, pains, dizziness, stomach-aches, diarrhea, cold n flu etc…
If you find that the stress levels in your teen is prolonging for more than 2 weeks in a stretch, you might have to seek medical help to rule out other underlying mental illness.
10 Side effects of stress
As we discussed earlier, negative stress can affect your child. Here, we will discuss effects of stress in teens.
First, we let us discuss the effects of stress from a medical point of view. If your child remains in stress for long time,
- It can affect your child’s mental health as well as physical health.
- Long term stress weakens your child’s immunity.
- Your child can feel symptoms of high blood pressure in the near future.
- Long term stress also leads to obesity and cardiac diseases.
- Your child can be mentally ill and have feelings of depression and anxiety in the future.
- Mood swings in teens is also an effect of ongoing stress. This stress affects their behaviour.
- Relationships start to suffer. A stressed-out teen who is always irritable, moody, or isolating themselves will start having issues with the relationships that they are having.
- Isolation and Silence in the long run starts working in a downward spiral. This leads to depression and depression is the main cause for suicide.
- Affects self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence. This, once leads to more isolation.
- Above all it can suck the life and happiness out of your child and leave them feeling hopeless.
Spend some time to read more about common teen issues from our blogs. Read our articles at Parental challenges growing teenagers.
Way to diagnose stress (N-U-T-S Method)
Sonia Lupien at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress coined the acronym NUTS. This will help us remember better the classification of things that make life stressful.
NUTS stand for …
- Threat to the ego
- Sense of control
All types of stress can be bucketed into these 4 categories. This will help you diagnose the stress in your teenager correctly. And use the appropriate strategy needed to address the issue.
Something that is new and changing in your teenager’s life. Things like new house, new school, new relationship, new member to the family etc.
How to approach: The best way to approach, minimise and mitigate this stress is to plan and prepare. Help your teen look forward to the change. Also ensure they are well prepared for it.
All the things that cause unpredictability in your teenager’s life. Things such as lockdown due to pandemic, an accident, death or loss, natural disasters. Even novelty issues bring about an element of unpredictability in your teen’s life when they are unprepared for it or they are caught by surprise.
These stresses come out of the blue all of a sudden.
How to approach: What helps in these times are one’s attitude and thought process. As parent you will have to ensure that your teen is displaying a positive outlook and is moving forward. Your support and guidance are much needed.
Threat to the ego
All things that can cause a threat to their ego, or competency or their safety. Things like peer pressures, challenge in school or among social groups, power play between social hierarchies, validation issues.
How to approach: As parents the best thing to do for this category of stress is to counsel them. Point to them their uniqueness and appreciate and praise them.
These types of stress can be best countered when your teen builds a healthy self-confidence and has a good self-esteem, where their core value systems are sound and they need not set out to please everyone.
Sense of control
All things that influence or impact your teenager but are beyond the control of your teenager. Things like bad neighbourhood, bullying, any type of abuse, not able to adjust to school or teachers, cumulative day-to-day difficulties.
These types of stress can be a rot in the bone. They are long term ones that affect them on a day to day basis. They are more difficult to handle as they slowly and steadily eat into your teen’s wellbeing. Since the issues are perceived to be out of one’s control, your teen can easily feel helpless and lose hope.
How to approach: Depending on the severity, your intervention maybe needed to help your teen regain control. Such as bullying and abuse will need you to report the issue and take charge immediately.
Apart from this you will also have to work on giving your teen hope so that they can over come the issue and look for a bright future.
Related read : How-To Build HOPE in your Teenager
10 things you can do to help deal with stress in your teenager
You are not alone!
Thousands of parents with teens and children are facing this situation. You are not alone. A little stress is good for your teens.
Don’t show too much concern about slight stress in teens. It’s necessary for their good performances.
But if you feel your teen is over stressed and tired all the time, then intervention is necessary. First, try not to worry too much as it can affect your mental health too.
So, do not blame yourself too much and move forward to your teen.
Share a good relationship with your teen
Trust me, nothing can help you more than this. When you and your teen share a good relationship, everything becomes super easy.
When your teen feels free to talk about anything or any topic with you, it will give you some insights into understanding what your teenager is facing. Nothing beats a good emotional bonding with your teen.
If you like to know more about how to build a strong emotional bonding with your teenager reader article How-To Easily build Emotional Connection with your Teenager
Direct talk with your teen
Once you feel your teen is stressed about something, talk to them directly. Show them your care and concern. Ask them what is troubling them. Or what’s wrong.
There is a strong possibility that your teen will discuss their problem with you. Once they discuss their problem with you, give them emotional support and proper guidance about that issue.
Do not be judgmental about them or keep interrupting them when they talk to you.
Plan a picnic party or long drive with your teen
Picnics can help you to talk to your teen about their problem. When you go for such kind of outings, one tends to feel relaxed and physically away from anything that is causing them stress.
This will not only give you a good one on one uninterrupted time with your teenager, but also make them feel that their parents are really concerned about their problems. They are more likely to discuss things with you.
Talk with a friend of your teen, seek their help
Sometimes, children don’t open up to parents completely about certain things. In this case, you can seek help from their best friend(s) whom you think they would discuss their problems with.
But I would say it is better not to reach such a point where you have to find out information about your own child from a third person. Therefore, you should build an open a free relation with your teen. So that, they feel free to talk to you about anything.
Teach your teen to choose the right friends so that they can come in time of need to help your teen to cope with stress. If you like to know how to teach your teen on this subject read our article How-to help your teen to choose right friends
If you feel the stress is because of bullying, then talk to school authorities if the bullying is taking place at school or to the bully’s parents to help your teen.
Read about bullying issues in our article How-To protect your kid from Bullying
Encourage them & make them look forward to life
Tell your teen it is never a good idea to remain unhappy all the time as it can destroy their personality. Ask you teen to love themselves as they are.
Highlight the talents and gifts that your teen has. Similarly tell them why you appreciate them and what their unique qualities are. Keep repeating it to them till they start completely believing you.
Tell them of the aspirations you have for them and how you completely believe that they will grow up to become successfull in life.
Find the stressors
We have outlined above some of the common reasons that can cause stress in your teenager. Keep this in mind when you have a friendly talk with your teenager.
Go through some of these reasons and probe them when you are having a talk with your teenager. Figure out why your teenager is getting stressed out.
When you can understand where the problem is and why it is stressing your teenager you will be able to come up with proper solutions and guide them to overcome the stress.
If the stress is because of your high expectations of them and their anxiety that they cannot live up to it, understand it and lower your expectation of them to reasonable levels so that they do not land up have anxiety issues.
Brainstorm with your teen to find solutions
Guide your teen, once the problem is at the door, we should find solution of problem.
Instead of thinking all the time about the problem, guide them to find solution.
Tell them the insights you have of the problem. What you might think is the stressor. Talk to them but be careful not to be judgmental.
When you explain their situation from a neutral point of view, it will bring about clarity. And you can go about brainstorming about how to tackle the situation.
Do tell them that some situations cannot be tackled but will have to be waited out.
You could also spend some time and read our article How to Train you teenager to be smart
Teach them coping mechanisms
Teach them and help them to practice some of the coping mechanisms. We have outlined below some effective coping mechanisms for stress.
Keep reading to know more on these coping mechanisms and how you can help your teen use them to manage the stress better.
Take a break and be available for them
Tell them, their mental health is your priority. They can take break from work and go for outings or their favorite places.
Help them unwind and destress. Be available for them when they want to talk to you. Do not force them to talk to you. Give them their space and respect.
10 Effective stress coping mechanism to teach your teen
#1 Good food & Sleep
Show concern about your teens’ sleep pattern. Encourage them to have at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Also educate them about balanced diet and make sure your teen is eating healthy food.
Sunlight has amazing benefits and is a good mood booster. A good mood helps your child think clearly and handle stress better. Read more in our article 20 Astonishing benefits of sunlight for kids.
#3 Outdoor Play and Exercise
Make sure that your teen exercises on a regular basis. Encourage them to spend some time playing outside rather than confining themselves to activities within the house.
#4 Teach them balance between work, play and rest
Help your teen have a balanced life. Help them make a schedule and make it more predictable and easier to follow. Familiarity reduces stress levels a lot.
#5 Find other stress busters
Find out pleasurable activities that your teen likes. It can be listening to music, or drawing, or gardening or reading a book etc. Encourage them to have a hobby and provide material for them to pursue it.
#6 Motivate your teen to write a diary
When we write down worries on paper, it can reduce mental pressure. Writing it down acts as a stress buster as it helps them vent out whatever is on their mind without the fear of being right or wrong and judged. Also, when they write it down, it gives them better clarity of thought.
Guide and motivate your teen to write down things when they are feeling pressure. It can also be writing a poem or a diary record or a journal.
#7 Teach your teen how to pause, reset and restart.
When your teen is frustrated and feeling overwhelmed and tying themselves into knots, tell them it is ok to take a pause. Teach them to distance themselves from what is causing them stress. They could take a time out and reset themselves and then restart what they were doing.
#8 Teach them to avoid substance abuse
Tell them substance abuse is not an effective way to deal with stress. It can be anything from sex, drugs, alcohol or even the innocent looking caffeine or sugar. Tell them it leads to other complications that is only going to lead them to more stress.
Read our related article How-To talk to teen about Sex, Drugs and Alcohol
#9 Social and Volunteer work
Encourage your teen to do some social or volunteer work. When they work among people who are less privileged than them. It tends to evoke a sense of gratitude. When your teen sees how these people less privileged than them manage to live life. They get new motivation to overcome their stress.
#10 Teach them power of prayer, silence, or meditation
Teach you teen to channelize their faith in their religion and use prayer as a stress buster. If you are not religiously inclined, then teach them the power of silence and meditation. All this will calm their ruffled nerves.
Video Time – Experts Speak
Important Note to parents
Do noto doubt yourself or be harsh on yourself. It is common and very natural to be worried and concerned about your child’s mental health.
But don’t be too depressed in such kind of situation. Just relax, try to know the cause of your teen’s stress, and then find a possible solution.
Help them with the methods mentioned above. Show patience give encouragement and motivation. Teach them how they can find solutions. With proper guidance you can prevent your teen from stressing conditions.
At the end I would like to conclude by saying, with a healthy environment and understanding parents teens are less likely to stress over long periods of time. Try to give them a healthy and understanding environment and be understanding.
Every parent goes though this. You are not the only one who is dealing with stress in your teenager. I have faced it with both my sons. Just be approachable and be there for them and take things one step at a time. You will tide over this and your teen will blossom to be one happy adult.
However, I am a mother growing 3 kids. And I am a concerned parent.
I like to share my knowledge with the hope that it will be help to someone somewhere and make a difference to a very worried parent.
I have written this article, based on my experience and my talk with experts in this line and research on this topic. Also, I have implemented it in my life with my kids.
I like to emphasize that this is only for knowledge sharing and information purpose.
If you wish to know more on our disclaimer you can get it from the link in this page’s footer.
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