Stress Management For Teens
Today’s teens face many stressors on a regular basis. While the digital age is beneficial in many ways, it can also play a huge factor in increasing pressure on kids. Teens are challenged to be connected 24/7, keep up with homework, pass standardized tests, in addition to whatever activities or hobbies they enjoy. In turn, parents are busy with work and family. The example they set may not always be optimal for their children. So how do you teach teens to manage stress in a world that seems to be moving at warp speed and is overloaded with information?
Before a teen can manage stress they need to know what it is and how it manifests within them. It also helps to understand what causes it. Once they identify their reactions to stress and the root of the stress they can move on to dealing with it.
Introducing the topic is the first step. Questions are the key, as are the answers. After a dialogue about potential stress causes:
- Issues with peers
- Household tension or arguments
- A big test coming up
- An overload of things to do and not enough time
- Not being good enough at something
- Worries about friends, family, or the world in general
- Changes in appearance and feelings
You can move on to what feelings or reactions it may cause:
- Increased heartbeat
- An instinct to get away
Share with your teen that stress is a natural, common reaction, and that there are ways to handle it.
For many people, just acknowledging something is a problem takes away a big part of the reaction. They breathe easier for sharing the load. That is why parents or some sort of support system are so crucial to teens. Even if it seems they don’t want to tell you anything, keeping the door open to conversation is enormous, as is asking if they want to talk, or letting them know you’ll be there when they’re ready. Let them know that problems can be solved. If they are having troubles with homework, there are tutors. Letting go of something to free up extra down time is sometimes a valid option.
The next step is teaching them how to calm the storm of emotions that often accompanies stress. For example:
- If they are on the computer reading something that bothers them, turn it off. In other words, move away from the cause of the stress.
- Teach them to take a deep breath and assess the problem. Is stressing over a test helpful? Where can they find assistance?
- Coping comes in many forms. They can try listening to their favorite music, deep breathing, talking to a friend or parent, journaling, spending time with a pet, or drawing.
- Teach them to give themselves credit for the effort they put into something rather than the outcome. Let them know that by continuing to put effort in, things will most likely improve.
- Encourage exercise, sleep, and eating healthy.
- Talk about why drugs, alcohol, and nicotine can make stress worse.
- Encourage them to rehearse a scenario that may cause stress.
- Make them aware of self-talk and the importance of positive over negative self-talk.
- Keep them in a routine, and create an awareness about sleep and the importance of getting enough of it.
There are many techniques to manage stress, and by incorporating them in your teen’s routine early, you will set them up for a lifetime of effectively managing their stress.
For more tips on stress management for teens, click here.