Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Teacher, Author

Teens Under Stress

As we discuss the concept of objectification, I will try to provide some ideas for helping children and adolescents cope with the pressures that they encounter. One of my favorite websites is Lori Lite’s Stress Free Kids. She has practical tips on how to help children and adolescents cope with stress along with CDs, books and articles. Lori shared this great article discussing how to help teens under stress.

By Lori Lite / Stress Free Kids

The American Psychological Association shows that teen stress has increased to epidemic levels and called it a medical health hazard. Parents need to be aware, get involved, and trust their instinct. Most parents remember their own teenage years as a volatile time marked by the struggle for independence, the forging of identity, and the process of emotional and physical maturation. Dating, peer pressure, academics, sports, changing family dynamics, the economy, and our fast paced schedules all add to today’s stressors. Our youth are dealing with complicated societal pressures unlike anything we have ever imagined. It is important for parents to recognize the causes of teen stress and take measures to relieve or combat it. The American Psychology Association reports that 86 percent of tweens and 74 percent of teens state that they are comfortable talking to their parents about the things that cause them stress. Let’s get our teens talking and reducing stress.

Tips:

1. Remember that stress is contagious, but so is calm. Demonstrate relaxation and positive statements in your parenting routine.

2. Talk to your teen. Figure out when their guard is most likely to be down and use that time to communicate.

3.  Stay up and have a late night snack with your teen. Teens may be more talkative at night and in the kitchen.

4. Share stories about challenges you experienced as a teen and how you handled it. Make sure to share the mistakes you made. Teens are more likely to share their challenges after a story than a direct question.

5. Give your teens more freedom, but keep clear boundaries. A teen without rules is a teen with much stress.

6. Schedule downtime with your teen. Go for lunch, horseback riding, or shoot hoops. Take them out of their usual environment. You’ll be surprised how your teen will let their walls down doing something outdoors.

7. Pay attention to what you say to your teen. Take a break from criticizing and correcting. Give your teen a compliment each day.

8. Expose your teen to relaxation techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, visualizing, progressive muscular relaxation, and positive statements. Indigo Teen Dreams introduces teenagers to stress and anger management.

9. Help your teen with time management and balancing their schedules. Be sure to include downtime.

10. Discuss the future and address specific changes like job loss or divorce with your teen. Explain how this will impact your teen’s life and talk it through to a positive hopeful outcome.

Labeling stress as ‘just being a teen’ both unfairly discounts the difficulty of the teenage years and can obscure the telltale signs of damaging teen stress.  Parents might notice their teen is stressed if they see that their teen is easily agitated, overactive, confused, afraid, angry, sad, anxious or withdrawn. A preoccupation with a traumatic event, withdrawal from family and friends, sleep disturbances and physical complaints can all be indicators of stress.

Teens can also help manage their own stress levels, by making a homework plan, scheduling downtime, exercising regularly, eating healthy, communicating with parents, creating supportive positive friendships, and getting plenty of sleep.  Parents should encourage this behavior whenever possible and model living life in balance.

Stress Free Kids® founder Lori Lite has created a line of books and CDs designed to help children, teens, and adults decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. Ms. Lite’s books, CDs, and lesson plans are considered a resource for parents, psychologists, therapists, child life specialists, teachers, and yoga instructors. Lori is a certified children’s meditation facilitator and Sears’ Manage My Life parenting expert. For more information visit  Stress Free Kids and for daily advice follow Lori on Twitter and Facebook.

Lori just released a new 2 CD set

Indigo Teen Dreams, which has been designed to Decrease Stress, Anger, Anxiety while Increasing Self-Esteem and Self-Awareness.

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