Helping your child manage their stress levels.
Everyone experiences stress at different stages of life, but teenagers can be particularly vulnerable. According to a published survey by the American Psychological Association, 30 percent of teens said they felt sad because of stress, and 31 percent said they were overwhelmed. On a 10-point scale, the average stress level for teens was 5.8, while the average for adults was 5.1.
It is common for teens to experience difficulties with peer pressure, negative thoughts and feelings about themselves, demanding academic courses and family issues. While normal stress is okay, an overload of stress can result in withdrawal, anxiety, health problems and drug or alcohol use. Therefore, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open with your child so they know you are available to help.
If your child has trouble managing their stress or talks about self-harm, seems depressed, stops eating or has difficulty sleeping, consult with a psychiatrist or qualified mental health professional.
Helping your teen cope
While there may be little control over the stressors in your teen’s life, you can help them learn ways to better cope by:
√ Helping them set priorities if they are overwhelmed
√ Supporting them in athletics, dance, music and other creative activities
√ Attending a meditation, yoga or tai chi class with them – this helps you, too
√ Demonstrating time management skills and breaking tasks into smaller chunks
√ Ensuring they exercise, eat regular, healthy meals and get enough sleep
√ Focusing on their strengths, which fosters an “I can do it!” attitude
√ Encouraging them to build a support network of peers they can lean on
Knowing they are not alone, your teenager can learn to better manage stressful situations and even help other teens, which provides them with a sense of accomplishment.
Spring Mountain Treatment Center, affiliated with Summerlin Hospital, provides 24-hour mobile assessments and referrals. To schedule an assessment, call 702-873-2400. All calls are confidential.