Nothing To Scoff At
By Melinda Grossman
As adults we deal with stress everyday. We've got our family to take care of plus work, bills, insurance, health issues and long-term financial worries. The issues that create teenage stress may seem minor, or even trivial in comparison to our serious, grown-up issues.
But to teenagers, these issues and events are not trivial. Studies have shown a high percentage of teens complain of being "stressed-out" on a daily or weekly basis.
When teens perceive a situation as dangerous, difficult, or painful and they don't know how to effectively cope with it, most of them will experience more stress. Here are some sources of teenage stress:
crammed schedules, not enough time to rest & relax, always on the go
school demands and frustrations
negative thoughts and feelings about themselves
changes in their bodies
problems with friends and/or peers at school
unsafe living environment/neighborhood
being bullied or exposed to violence or injury
separation or divorce of parents
chronic illness or severe problems in the family
death of a loved one
moving or changing schools
ongoing problems with schoolwork, learning disabilities or other problems
family financial problems
And because most don't know how to cope, teenage stress can easily become overwhelming. At this point the stress leads to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical illness, or possibly drug and/or alcohol use.
Therefore it's vitally important for parents to help their teens. Watch to see if stress is affecting their health, behavior, thoughts or feelings. Although this may be very challenging at times, listen carefully to them and watch for overloading. Learn plenty of stress management skills and be a model for your teens to emulate.
What can the young adults do themselves to reduce teenage stress? Plenty. Again, be the great example and help them to exercise and eat regularly. They ought to avoid excess caffeine because it can increase feelings of anxiety and agitation. Of course, avoid illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Help them learn relaxation exercises and learn practical coping skills (e.g., break a large task into smaller ones). Decrease the negative self-talk. Every task regardless of how minor doesn't have to be perfect. Often "good enough" is just great. And if they're already very busy, help them say "no" to helping decorate for the prom, or maybe going out with friends another night because they're really too tired.
Help for teenage stress might also come in the form of friends. If your teenager has a hard time making friends then begin looking at outside activities such as youth camps and neighborhood sports events. Find a place for them to volunteer a few hours of their time or get them involved in an artistic or musical venture. Help them create a support group so they will never feel alone.
Have them make a list of everything that causes them stress. Ask them to think about friends, family, school and other activities. Guide them to accept what they can't control on the list.
Here are some signs your teen may be stressed out:
Headaches, stomach aches, trouble sleeping
Feeling depressed, edgy, guilty, tired
Blaming other people for the bad things that happen to them
Laughing or crying for no reason
They don't seem to enjoy things they used to, these things are no long fun or seem a burden
Only see the down side of a situation
Resent other people or their own responsibilities
A true danger sign is when your teen says, "I've tried dealing with my stress, but I just feel like giving up." When stress really becomes too much for them to deal with, it leads to dreadful feelings and they may even think about suicide.
Teens may be young adults, but they still need guidance. They really shouldn't have to deal with stress levels that are equal to those in adult life. And with our evolving society kids are growing up faster, they're exposed to more stressful situations (even the news regional, national and international news creates stress), and deserve to be taught how to manage the stress.
Teenage stress is serious and must be dealt with correctly. Their physical and mental health is negatively affected by stress and this can follow them into adult-hood. Evidence shows stress, anxiety, and depression patterns established young continue on through adult-hood and continue to get worse over time. Let's do what we can to help them today.
About the Author: Get stress relief ideas & attacking anxiety and depression info at http://www.StressAndDepressionAnswers.com plus many stress, anxiety and depression topics.