How Parents can Help Teenagers Handle Stress?

Reuters Health reports that one third of US teens say they feel stressed-out on a daily basis. “According to Reuters, researchers suspect US teenagers to be feeling such stress as a result of overwhelming expectations by parents and society.”

The study, conducted at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, also found nearly two third of teens to be stressed “at least once a week.” How do we know a teenager is stressed?

In his 13 signs of burnout, Henry Neils listed the following:

  1. Chronic fatigue – exhaustion, tiredness, a sense of being physically run down
  2. Anger at those making demands
  3. Self-criticism for putting up with the demands
  4. Cynicism, negativity, and irritability
  5. A sense of being besieged
  6. Exploding easily at seemingly inconsequential things
  7. Frequent headaches and gastrointestinal disturbances
  8. Weight loss or gain
  9. Sleeplessness and depression
  10. Shortness of breath
  11. Suspiciousness
  12. Feelings of helplessness
  13. Increased degree of risk taking

Chuck Gartman who is an assistant professor of Christian Studies at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas said in his piece, Helping Teens Handle Stress that “Time management is important, but as you know, there are lots of things that are vying for the time of teenagers: work, school, extracurricular activities, church, homework, time with friends, sports, band, drama, and the list goes on. Getting a handle on all of this is difficult enough without having to deal with all the stress that these things bring to their lives.”

As Mr. Gartman said, it can be overwhelming for teens to handle a mountain of task and activities they are required to do. But what would a parent do?

Gartman gave the following advice,

  1. “We must acknowledge that stress is real. We cannot sweep it under the rug and hope it will go away. It won’t because it is huge in the life of a teenager. (If we are honest, we will have to admit that it is huge for us as well – think about all those folks that you know who are suffering from ulcers, heart problems, and high blood pressure). Stress is real. As parents we should know better, but teens have difficulty acknowledging that stress can be a real problem for them. Sometimes they don’t even recognize stress as a problem.
  2. There is hope in the midst of stress. Acknowledging that stress is real is not the end of the world. The Lord offers hope in the midst of it. This peace is not absence of conflict. Actually, it is realizing that we have a source within us to overcome anything that comes our way.
  3. Stress is vital in our lives. There is some stress that is not only helpful, but healthy. Admittedly, there is some stress that is unhealthy; but we have tended to think that it is all that way, and it’s not. Think of the stress that comes from exercising our bodies. Doing so causes our bodies to grow and get stronger. This is true of us as adults and it is true for teenagers as well. Helping teens to come to terms with these three principles will start them on the journey of coping with the stressors in their lives in a healthy way.”

Parents can Help Their Teens Handle Stress in following ways:

  • They try to identify the stressors to recognize the signs of stress above.
  • Spending time together or having a few good laughs together goes a long way in reducing stress and in building solid family relationships.
  • They Provide opportunities for them to learn stress management techniques.
  • They have reasonable reachable expectations and set manageable goals in academic and extra curricular fields.
  • They are sensitive to changes in their teenagers’ behavior.
  • They encourage their children to do Physical exercise and sports are in order to prevent.
  • They help and encourage them to build relationships with extended family members, friends and helpful neighbors. For they know that just knowing there is someone else to turn to share their feelings can be relieving for teenagers.
  • When they are stressed, they do not pass it to their teens.

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