Plus Tips On Helping Your Child With Their Anxiety
Most adults think of their childhood as the happiest time of their life, but children and teenagers are prone to suffering from stress too which, because of its detrimental effect on their mood, can even lead to depression. Studies show that almost one in four young people will experience depression before they’re 19 years old, caused by peer pressure, school worries and a lot more. And with SATs exams coming up this spring for primary school children, plus GCSEs and A-Levels in secondary schools this summer, many young people may be feeling anxious. We asked the experts at CABA to share some of the common triggers and tips on supporting a child who is experiencing stress.
How To Know If Your Teen Is Stressed
Knowing what to look for will help you detect if your teen is stressed and provide you an opportunity to offer guidance and support. Heres how to tell if you have stressed teens.
· They are exhibiting emotional changes like anxiety, depression, or appear agitated. Physical illness stress can make a teen more susceptible to diseases and infections like stomach aches or headaches.
· Difficulty concentrating and other cognitive changes stressed teens could become forgetful, lack concentration, or appear careless.
· Changes in behavior like not eating or sleeping and avoiding everyday activities.
Concerned Your Teen Is Too Stressed
Take our 2-minute stress level quiz to see if he or she may benefit from further diagnosis and treatment.
If you think you or someone you care about may be suffering from high stress, anxiety, or any other mental health condition, PsyCom strongly recommends that you seek help from a mental health professional in order to receive a proper diagnosis and support. We have compiled a list of resources where you may be able to find additional help at .
Don’t Miss: Can Stress Make Your Vision Blurry
Theme 1 Stressors And Stress
In general adolescents perceived that they experience stress in their daily life. Despite viewing stress as a part of life, there was a definite indication of its undesirable impact in their lives. They identified a range of stressors which are categorised as subthemes presented below.
Family is the main thing. Family aspects were the most prominently indicated stressors especially among older adolescents. The adolescents felt that family pressures and/or conflicts triggered a range of uncomfortable emotions in them.
Pressure from the family: The adolescents felt that being forced, either openly or implicitly, to take part in a range of activities and responsibilities was indeed stressful. These included direct pressure to socialise within extended families, expectations to conform to the family structure and its values, and a felt obligation to maintain family bonds and take general responsibility of the family.
- How to manage family in the futurethats also a stress, and besides that younger and older sisters marriage, their marriages how to do, where to dothat is also a stress
In younger adolescents, parental pressure for good academic performance was the major stressor.
- Theyll give a lot of tension – You HAVE to study like this, you HAVE to score this percentage theyll put a lot of pressure on the children. That creates tension for us
Is Stress Always Bad
No, stress isnt always bad. In fact, a little bit of stress is good. Most of us need to feel the pressure of wanting to do well. This is how we push ourselves, whether its in sports, music, dance, work, or school. Also, many of us need the stress caused by a deadline. Without it, we wouldnt be able to finish projects or get to work or school on time.
Also Check: What Is Nuclear Stress Test Consist Of
Strategies For Coping With Stress
The good news is that there are ways you can help your adolescent and teen cope with stress and learn how to manage it better. Encourage your teen to try some of the following strategies that can reduce their stress level.
- Talk about problems with others.
- Take deep breaths, accompanied by thinking or saying aloud, I can handle this.
- Perform progressive muscle relaxation, which involves repeatedly tensing and relaxing large muscles of the body.
- Set small goals and break tasks into smaller, manageable chunks.
- Exercise and eat regular meals.
- Get proper sleep.
- Practice consistent, positive discipline.
- Visualize and practice feared situations.
- Focus on what you can control and let go of what you cannot .
- Work through worst-case scenarios until they seem amusing or absurd.
- Lower unrealistic expectations.
- Schedule breaks and enjoyable activities.
- Accept yourself as you are identify your unique strengths and build on them.
- Give up on the idea of perfection, both in yourself and in others. Give yourself permission and cultivate the ability to learn from mistakes.
Young People And Stress
Stress is a serious health concern for young Australians. In 2015, a research study by Mission Australia found that almost 40 per cent of 15- to 19-year-olds are very concerned about their ability to cope with stress.
Stress is a normal part of life for teenagers and can be caused by many different things. The more we learn about teens and stress, the better able we will be as parents to model the behaviours that can help our children learn to cope better with stress. Learning about why we get stressed and how to manage it more effectively is a great skill for life.
Dr Bill Kefalas explains the warning signs and effects of stress
Why are teens stressed? Common things that teenagers say cause them stress include:
- homework and school
- expectations and pressure to do well at school from parents and family
- their social relationships with friends and boyfriends/girlfriends and the issue of sex
- extracurricular commitments
- life challenges, such as leaving school or getting into tertiary studies or employment
- lack of time having too much to do, feeling unprepared or overwhelmed
- lack of sleep.
Also Check: How To Prevent Stress Incontinence
Ways To Help Teens Cope With Stress
Unfortunately, theres not a one-solution-fits-all kind of answer to this. On the bright side, weve got quite a few different ways to help. Lets look through our list of ways to help your teen cope with stress. These methods would help reduce stress in anyone, but weve tailored them to teenagers for this guide.
There Is Light At The End Of The Tunnel
If you’ve been under stress for a year of more, it can feel as though you’ll never feel relief. The good news is that most of the stressors you have now as a teen will go away. According to psychologist Jean Twenge, the author of Generation Me, most teenagers start to feel less stressed once they hit their 20s and 30s. Some teens are able to feel better before this time with the help of anti-depressant medication, but this is something that should be discussed with a physician or therapist.
Stress is common for teenagers. If you’re a teen who feels like you are at the end of your rope, don’t give up now. This is supposed to be a difficult time in your life, so you are not overreacting or imagining anything.
If you feel as though you can’t take another day, talk to someone. Talk to a guidance counselor, your mother, father, or another trusted adult. If you have no one to talk to, call one of the teen crisis lines listed on the Palo Alto Medical Foundation website. You deserve to be heard and feel safe in your surroundings and in yourself.
Read Also: How To Let Go Of Work Stress
Good Stress Versus Bad Stress
We all experience both good stress and bad stress.
Good stress is that optimal amount of stress that results in our feeling energized and motivated to do our best work. Good stress encourages us to develop effective coping strategies to deal with our challenges, which ultimately contributes to our resilience.
Bad stress occurs when our coping mechanisms are overwhelmed by the stress and we do not function at our best. The same event can affect children and adults in very individual waysone person may see a carnival ride as thrilling and another may see it as a major stressor. Stress can become distress when we are unable to cope or when we believe that we do not have the ability to meet the challenge. The solution is to adapt, change, and find methods to turn that bad stress into good stress.
Solstice East Can Help
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for teen girls ages 14-18 struggling with behavior and emotional issues such as those that can stem from peer-relationship struggles. This program focuses on helping young women heal, recover, and integrate healthy habits into their lives. Students will learn to build healthy relationships, cope with emotions, and effectively communicate. Solstice East gives young women the skills and confidence they need to lead happy and healthy lives. We can help your family today!
Don’t Miss: What Is The Best Medicine For Stress
Common Triggers Of Teen Stress
All teens are different and stress can be triggered by a number of factors. The results of the Stress in America Survey show that there are some common sources of stress in the teen population. The best way to understand how your teen processes stress and where the stress stems from is to engage in open and honest communication about stress. Its important for parents to normalize the concept of stress and empower teens to utilize adaptive coping strategies.
Consider these potential sources of stress for teens:
Academic StressFrom grades to test scores to applying to college, teens experience high levels of school-related stress. Many teens worry about meeting academic demands, pleasing teachers and parents, and keeping up with their classmates. Poor time management skills or feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work can play into academic stress as well.
Social StressTeens place a high value on their social lives. They spend the majority of their waking hours among their peers, and finding and keeping their tribes can include stress at times. Bullying and subtle instances of relational aggression are clear sources of stress on teens, but learning to manage healthy conflict and work through romantic relationships are no easy tasks for the developing teen. Peer pressure is an additional stress during the teen years. In an effort to establish and maintain friendships, teens can engage in behavior outside of their comfort zones to appease their peers.
How Stress Affects Teens
Concerns about how stress affects teens extend to their parents, peers, and teachers. From time to time, people of all ages experience stress. Its a normal part of life, and, under some circumstances, stress could be beneficial. When teens experience stress, it helps them develop coping skills. However, if you believe the stress your teen is experiencing is too overwhelming, there are things you can do to help. One of them may include reaching out to an adolescent treatment center in North Carolina.
Recommended Reading: What Is Post Stress Disorder
Pressure To Succeed Academically
The stress and anxiety of academics can be challenging for youth to effectively manage. Teens may worry that a less-than-ideal academic performance will lead to being judged by their peers, scolded by their parents, or rejected by universities. Even high-performing students feel the stress from competition or pressure to get into the best schools. In particular, when students arent taught to productively cope with failure, they can become demotivated and fall short of their potential.
|SOLUTION: Teens flourish when they have extracurricular opportunities to develop their confidence. Parents need to reassure their kids that academic success is not the prerequisite for love or success. Students who experience acute mental distress over academics should be encouraged to seek help from a school counselor.|
Stress Management Activities For Youth
Teenagers and adolescents can also use the help of these activities to deal better with stress.
- Breathing Exercises: Deep breathing exercises relax the body and mind. Breathing exercises can help bring the balance back to the nervous system, and also promote mindfulness.
- Mindfulness: It is the art of focusing on the present moment. When you are overwhelmed by your thoughts and emotions, take a deep breath and take a look around you. Try to think nothing focus on what you see. You can also practice mindfulness by focusing on your breath, the body sensations, or what you hear. This simple activity gives you a break from your thoughts and relaxes your mind.
- Creative visualization: Visual imagery is a powerful tool that can be used to get out of negative thinking that creates stress. Sit in a quiet place in your room. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around. Try to become mindful. Now picture how the ideal situation would be like. Think about how you would feel and what you would say. Hold that thought for a minute or two experience it in your mind. Once you open your eyes, youll be back in the real world, but with a fresh perspective.
- Co-sharing: When you and your friends are stressed, you can try this activity. Co-sharing lets you share your feelings and thoughts in a structured way. It also helps you develop your listening skills.
Teenagers should also be encouraged to use stress management worksheets that can help.
Read Also: What To Do When Sad And Stressed
When To Call A Healthcare Provider
Some teens are unable to verbalize why they are stressed or recognize that they need help. Instead, you will need to watch for changes in their behavior in order to determine if they need assistance beyond what you can provide.
Generally, if symptoms last two weeks or longer that could be a sign that your teen needs professional assistance or has an underlying mental health issue. Talk to a healthcare provider about your concerns. They can offer a treatment plan and refer you to a mental health professional.
What Causes Stress In Teens: Management Strategies
The teenage years can be an extremely stressful period in ones life. Young ones are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in. Relationships, school work, and hormones can make this period in ones life extremely overwhelming. As a parent, it is not abnormal to feel like you are in a constant power struggle with your teen. When they are stressed they may exhibit irritable behavior or be seemingly impossible to deal with. However, as a parent it is important that you dont instigate the conflicts. Common stress triggers in teens includes:
- Academic stress
- Traumatic events
- World events
If one or multiple of these things is contributing to your teens stress, you should work to address the root of the problem. There are things you can to do help support your teen and give them ways to manage their stress.
Drinking And Drug Use
Many teens experiment with alcohol and, in some cases, drugs. They know they shouldnt be doing this and that their parents will disapprove. Peer pressure might also be involved. All of these factors can lead to teenage anxiety before, during, and after the experimentation. Worse, some teens will go on to become addicted to these substances, which raises anxiety levels even higher. Finally, some teens who are anxious already will turn to these substances as a form of self-medication. It rarely works instead, anxiety levels go up, which leads to more self-medication.
Theme 2 Stress Expression
Stress was reactively expressed through various emotions as indicated by the adolescents. There was a clear distinction between the younger and older participants in these reactions. Anger was the recurring feeling amongst most of the older adolescents. One participant expressed that they had violent thoughts about scolding, beating and even killing the person who caused the stress a few said that the anger resulted in aggressive behaviours towards unsuspecting family members.
- Like someone would have scolded me…I would have taken that anger out on someone else…like that…or take it out on the baby
Stress appeared to present as fear in younger interviewees, mostly due to the worry arising out of not doing an expected task like homework or getting low marks in the exams .
- So their parents..they yell at them or make them feel bad. And a lot of my friends actually cry in school when they score less marks because theyre worried about what will happen at home
Other common reactionary emotions were sadness, feeling hurt, annoyance or feeling guilty.
Also Check: How To Make Life Less Stressful
Signs Your Teen Is Stressed Out
Aron Janssen, MD is board certified in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry and is the vice chair of child and adolescent psychiatry Northwestern University.
Although teens dont have to worry about bills, a career, or holding down a household, they experience different sources of stress. They deal with issues like bullying, peer pressure, and academic issues which can be very stressful.
Without appropriate support, stressed-out teens may be at a higher risk for mental health problems, academic problems, and health issues. So it’s important to be on the lookout for warning signs your teen is feeling stressed out. Then, you can intervene sooner, rather than later.
Here are some of the top signs that your teen is stressed out.
Teens Stress And How Parents Can Help
Teen stress is an important health issue. The early teen years are marked by rapid changes physical, cognitive, and emotional. Young people may also face other challenges, including changing relationships with peers, new demands at school, family tensions, or safety issues in their communities. The ways in which teens cope with these stressors can have significant short-and long-term consequences on their physical and emotional health.
Also Check: How To Clear My Mind From Stress