TEEN STRESS – How can you tell if your teen or pre-teen is stressed? It’s not like the movies where overt acting out and pulling of hair is easy to spot. You may see increased irritability, hard to imagine them being any more irritable but it can happen;), more nervous actions like picking at skin or nails, crying out of context, or general loss of energy.
The APA released its Stress in America TM report for 2013 and it indicates that our youth aged 13-17 are in trouble. It states “high stress and ineffective coping mechanisms appear to be ingrained in our culture”. See full report on their website: (click here) As you can imagine school was rated, for our country’s teens, the most common source of this stress (83% reported).
In your family, the teen or pre-teen’s stress might play out in the use of defense mechanisms rather than emotional symptoms. They may rationalize less desirable behavior as a way to remove responsibility because to own it may seem overwhelming. Or your kid might develop a physical ailment immediately before an activity they predict will be too much. Often the stress they feel may be displaced on to family members without warning in the form of criticism or verbal outbursts. Finally, your teen or pre-teen may completely deny any culpability for their actions or minimize its importance. Stress is tough and it is why we avoid it, but here are some great ways for you and your family to face it:
- Get Some Sleep – Develop a routine for sleep that starts at the same time every day. It programs the mind and regenerates the body in a way that is natural for growth and maturity.
- Get Active and Do Fun – Active stress busters not only trigger dopamine in your brain, they are a great distraction, a better confidence builder, and a way to take a break.
- Focus on the Good – Make a list. What are you good at doing? What about you as a person do you like? What motivates you? Self-compliments are okay J
- Don’t Be Perfect – It’s too hard being perfect. Allow for mistakes and remind yourself the best athletes, artists, scientists and people in the world are making errors every single day. Cut yourself some slack and do the best you can.
- Talk and Model for Each Other – Q: From whom do teenagers learn their coping skills? A: You, teachers, parents, pastors. Talk to them about your stress and tell them how you handle it or failed to handle it.
- Talk to Someone – Call a professional for additional help. They may be able to give you the expertise and outside viewpoint you need to overcome your day to day stress.
Contact us at New Directions Counseling Services to begin the changes you want. 724.812.0043