How can I Help My Teen Manage Stress?
Stress can be defined as a common reaction to an everyday pressure and or change. It is a common feeling that can affect teens as much as adults, but just differently. Stressors for teens often come from school, peer relationships and family dynamics amongst others. Teenage stress can cause severe mental, emotional, and physical health issues, if left untreated.
Here are some common sources of stress affecting teenagers:
1. Expectations about themselves and their performance: Overall academic demands such as schoolwork, tests, class participation and maintaining a good academic performance can heighten their stress.
2. Physical and Emotional changes: Developmentally, your teen is facing different changes that can alter their hormones, emotional state and therefore self-image.
3. Social Relationships: Peers and social circles can increase your teen’s stress. Teens can worry about fitting in with certain groups of people, developing romantic relationships and maintaining friendships.
4. Family Dynamics: Changes in the family dynamics can spike and trigger stress in your teen. Factors such as marital problems, divorce, illness in a family member, strained sibling relationships, financial stress and a death of a loved one.
Common warning signs and symptoms of stress in teens include:
Lack of motivation
Loss of focus/attention
Ways to Help Your Teen Reduce Stress:
Make a collaborative plan to help increase sleep hygiene:
Their brains are still developing as well as their bodies. Therefore, getting enough sleep is crucial for their emotional and physical wellbeing. Collaborate with them and help them create a favorable bedtime routine. Be firm and direct when expressing that screening time affects their stress levels, sleep and mood.
Offer your support without expecting a conversation immediately:
Increasing communication with your teen can help you gain a better understanding on how they see themselves, others and the world around them. Conversations might not be often lengthy or in detail; however, it is essential that they are aware that you are a safe outlet when they need it.
Respect their space:
Establishing healthy boundaries when they ask for some time for themselves. We often need time to process our feelings after having a bad day. There will be times that your teen feels comfortable sharing more information with other supports such as friends, teachers, and other family members.
Help them identify their support:
It is important that your teen can identify their “team” and reach out to them in times of need. School counselors, therapists, friends, relatives, mentors and coaches can be great sources of support outside of the home.
Social media “detox”:
This option does not include total disconnection but instead a way to eliminate certain micro-stressors within the social media world. Have an open conversation about the pros and cons about having a social media presence and place boundaries around their screen time.
Teen Counseling & Family Counseling Can Help!
The teenage years are tough, but it’s important to remember that you and your teen do not have to handle this on your own. A licensed mental health professional can assist you in identifying your teen's sources of stress and developing a plan to help your teen.
If you need more help navigating the teenage years, we invite you to contact us for your complimentary consultation at 954-391-5305.
Lorena Arrarte, LMHC provides counseling for kids, teens, and families at our Coral Springs and Fort Lauderdale offices. She also provides counseling in English and Spanish. Lorena offers online counseling via our secure telehealth platform across the state of Florida.
For more information about her counseling services, click here.