For the past several years The American Psychological Association (APA) has been releasing studies on the level of stress among teens, it reports that the stress levels are increasing with poor coping mechanisms. The stress is complicated further by the teens inability to recognize that they are experiencing maladaptive levels of stress with school being the most common source of stress.
The common signs of stress in teens include:
- Change of behavior. Even though spending more time with friends is common amongst teens, avoiding parents completely can be a warning sign.
- Repeated episodes of physical illness, and headaches are another sign that a teen is struggling with high levels of stress.
- Further, the teen’s interaction with friends, teachers and other family members could be another indication, hence it is important for parents to watch for acting out behaviors.
- Finally, teens express their stress in sentences such as “I am not smart” “I don’t have friends” “No one likes me,” parents should try to tune into the dialogue and help their child manage the stress.
Helping teens develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with is crucial to their psychological development.
The following are some tips for parents and teens dealing with stress:
- Physical activity is the most the effective stress reduction strategy, taking your child for a walk or a swim can help him/her feel better.
- Ensuring that your teen is getting 9 hours of sleep. Schoolwork, activities, friends and social media can be time consuming thus not allowing the teen get the rest they need.
- School work is important but if it is essential to make sure that your teen strikes a balance between schoolwork and other activities.
- Help your teen spend time doing things that they enjoy and have fun. Engaging in hobbies can help bring joy to your teen.
- Finally, try to always encourage your teen to talk to someone even if that person isn’t yourself. Give him/her permission to open up to a trusted person. It can be a close friend or a family member as well as a qualified child & adolescent psychologist.