In today’s performance driven society people are forced to deal with stress at very a young age. Teenagers are constantly driven to compete for the best or the highest at school, amongst peers they are constantly fighting for acceptance usually based on how “in” they are with today’s trends. The way they talk, dress and act are all governed by standards set by the media and cultural icons.
Introducing Teenage Stress Management at Home?
Children are motivated and driven, even bribed to perform well from a very young age. Course materials and parental expectations usually work up a great deal of stress that neither the child nor the parent recognize or address. As soon as the child enters into his/her teens, there are a lot physiological changes that take place which adds a great deal to the already existing load of stress. Let’s look at three very important aspects of teenage stress management.
The first step towards teenage stress management is that you establish and keep communication lines open. You should be able to talk with your teenager at any time you need to and he/she should be able to do so, too. This habit should be cultivated right from childhood when you should establish a feeling in the child’s mind and heart that you are there any time he/she needs to talk with you.
2. Prefatory Counseling
Preparing the child for the changes he/she will face is another extremely important step in teenage stress management. This prefatory counseling should happen well in advance. For example a child should be told about the changes in their bodies when they are around 11or 12 years old; they should also be assured that everything is normal and expected.
3. Telling the truth
Teenagers usually suffer greatly when parents do not pull along. When there is a divorce in the family they tend to blame themselves for the fall-out between the parents. Keep the children in the loop if you are not pulling along and try as much as possible to keep your arguments private.
In the case of a divorce teenage stress management would involve telling the truth. Never lace up the truth or try to give it some sort of artificial flavor. The children deserve to know the truth.
- Exercise and eat regularly.
- Get enough sleep and have a good sleep routine.
- Avoid excess caffeine which can increase feelings of anxiety and agitation.
- Avoid illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
- Write feelings down- if they are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know how to talk about what they are feeling- encourage them to keep a journal, getting it out on paper will help get the thoughts out of their head.
Bottom line- talk with your teen. If you see their behavior change or notice they are under a lot of stress, don’t let them suffer alone. Reach out and open that door of communication. Let them know there are ways to help them and see what you can do.