People are stressed. Adults deal with stress every day, some better than others, but overall stress is a big ugly beast that each of us must face on some level every day.
But what about teens? Do they get stressed?
Some adults think kids don’t have any reason to be stressed. They’re just kids. They don’t have mortgages, bills, insurance, and family responsibilities, usually. They have it easy.
But that’s not always the case.
A teacher recently voiced this sentiment to my daughter at her high school. She expressed her concern and stress over something at school, and he immediately shot her down with “Oh, you don’t have anything to be worried about. You’re just a kid.”
This made her even more stressed out over whatever it was that was bothering her, and even made her a little angry, which never helps a stressed teen to de-stress.
It’s important for adults not to belittle or write off the stress that teens feel. It can alienate them and make them feel as though adults, particularly their parents, don’t care about their feelings and their worries.
When teens think we don’t care, it can only lead to strained relationships and even more stress for everyone down the road.
It is true that teens usually have their bills covered by mom and dad, but sometimes other factors come together to create stress and anxiety in a teen’s life.
Below are 6 factors that could be stressing your teen:
- Lack of sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep is food for the brain. Teenagers need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function at their best. Most teens do not get enough sleep. One study found that only 15% of teens reported getting as much as 8 1/2 hours on school nights. This is a tough one, especially when homework often dictates bedtime.
- Poor diet
This one sneaks in and sets up residence before we know it. And it’s easy to make bad food choices when we are on the go and in a hurry. Fast food, sweets, soft drinks, and other sources of caffeine creep in and dominate our diets. Before we know it, our teens are sick and tired. Eating a healthy diet is vital to their well-being and ability to perform their best at school and in life.
- Pressure to keep up grades and activities
A lot of teens need calendars and scheduling software just to keep up with all that they do. Also, my teen is a good student, and her desire for good grades is self-imposed. I am glad she is like that, but I do want her to maintain a balance and not put herself under too much stress to achieve her academic goals. The key here is balance.
- Tons of homework
We have first-hand experience with this one right now at our house, and also many times in the past. The amount of homework teens have also directly affects so many other aspects of their lives, and even the other factors on this list, such as sleep and the pressure due to grades and extracurricular activities. Sometimes the volume of homework is discouraging, and even debilitating. Be sensitive to your teen’s homework load. Offer to help if you can, and be sure to provide space with peace, quiet and the necessary tools they need to work successfully.
- Pressure to get into college
This is directly related to item 4, above. Pressure should be relieved in this area by helping your teen make some decisions about careers, and which colleges or trade schools make sense for him or her to consider. Again, offer to help facilitate this process in a non-judgmental, non-high pressure demeanor. Your teen has enough to worry about without being nagged about getting into college. Just plan out what to do, then follow the plan. See the articles referenced below on this topic.
- Relationships with friends and family
Everyone can get stressed about relationships, and teens are no exception. Whether it’s with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or just how they interact with their friends at school, teens can easily get wrapped up in relationship issues. Being willing to listen to them when they want to talk to you is a huge step toward helping them to overcome some of their stress in this area. And remember – listen more than you talk!
In dealing with stress or anything else, teens need to learn life balance from the adults in their lives. Unfortunately, sometimes we have a lot of trouble achieving it ourselves.
So how can we help?
The biggest overall goal we strive for in our house is peace and a haven-like atmosphere for everyone’s existence. The less nagging, fighting, noise, and stress we have in our home, the more likely our teen will be to at least have a place to come to when she is stressed by daily chores and events that come from outside our home.
It is music to my ears to hear her say that she loves to be at home. Nothing is ever perfect, and we all have things that need to be dealt with, but at least having a peaceful home can keep her centered and give her a place to recharge and prepare for taming those stress beasts that rise up in our paths every day.
How do you help your teen deal with stress? Leave a comment in the section below and share your wisdom. I would love to hear from you.