As a parent, you may think your teen’s life is so easy – after all, they have no job, bills, or errands to run. However, though it may seem that everyday stress has no place in the life of a teenager, statistics indicate differently. According to a recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association, 59 percent of teens have reported that balancing all their activities causes them stress, and 37 percent of teens said stress causes them to feel overwhelmed. These are just a couple of the staggering statistics that reveal the growing stress levels of today’s teens.
As a parent, you can help your teen cope with stress by providing the right type of oversight and guidance – without being too overbearing or pushy. If you notice your teen showing signs of stress or anxiety, here’s how you can help:
Encourage positive friendships. If toxic friendships appear to be the cause of your teen’s stress, it’s time to help your child understand the role their friends have on their emotional and physical well-being. Encouraging your teen to do some reflection on the quality of their friendships – and whether they are involved in respectful, mutually beneficial relationships – is the first step to getting your teen to understand the importance of positive friendships that add value to their life, rather than friendships that cause negative energy and bring them down.
Get outdoors. There’s a lot to be said about encouraging your teens to get outdoors and enjoy nature’s bounty. Rather than set up a structured outdoor activity, set aside some time to do something simple with your child, such as a bike ride or walk to the nearby ice cream stand. Spending time outdoors can do wonders to relieve feelings of worry and stress, boosting your teen’s mood and giving them a reprieve from the pressures of school and homework. Now with warmer weather on the way, there’s no excuse not to get your entire family engaged in outdoor activities, like hiking, camping, or even just taking a good old-fashioned walk!
Re-evaluate extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, extracurricular activities are often the source of stress in teens. If this is the case, it may be time for your teen to take a break from activities that have become too time-intensive. Believe it or not, teens today are under more pressure than ever to “do it all.” From maintaining high grades to participating in multiple activities, there is enormous pressure put upon them to be and do everything. Helping your teen set realistic expectations for their schedule and extracurricular commitments will allow them to develop time management skills, as well as learn how to say “no” to activities that overwhelm them.
Almost everybody experiences some level of stress and anxiety during the teen years. Putting the tips above into action will give your teens the tools to cope with stress in a healthy way as they enter adulthood.