Most people think that stress-related problems do not emerge until towards the end of high school or the onset of college, where academic and social forces work hand in hand to stress out an already jittery young adult. Contrary to that, stress is commonly manifested in tremendous loads by the time a person hits his or her teenage years. The academic subjects and social dilemmas for your children at this age level are many times more stressful as it was several decades ago. A tween might be experiencing problems with stress, but there are some things that a parent can do to help out.
Identify the Stressors in a Teenager’s Life
The first thing that a parent ought to do is to identify the stressors that are present in a teenager’s life. It may be of varying kinds, including:
- Academic stress
- Social stress
- Family situational stress
- Other factors that can cause stress
It could be just one, or a combination of several kinds. What matters is that a parent should try to identify the different sources of stress afflicting the child, in order to help alleviate some stress in the child’s life. Once these have been identified, try to find out what ways the tween has been coping with the stressors on her own, and then develop more rational ways to help her cope with the stressors better.
Make Small Adjustments in Your Schedule
Your son or daughter might have, for example, coped with somewhat low grades by cracking the books during the late hours of nighttime, but instead of helping with grades has found herself too tired to pay attention in school. As this is not a good way to handle working on better grades a parent should be able to come up with a better way to carve out study time at home. This could mean having a later dinner, dropping just one extra curricular activity a week, or making a schedule for TV or computer time. It is quite surprising how much better a teenager will feel knowing there are rules in the household, and the rules are meant to help balance life.
Offer Solutions to Specific Problems
Avoid talking a teenager’s ear off about how he or she should handle the stressors in life because they will always be there and there is nothing anyone can do about it. This could bring even more anxiety and stress to the child. On the contrary, offering a simple “What can we do at home to help?” works wonders. Ask if there are simple things that the parent or other family members can do to help her with specific areas of her life that are causing problems. For example, if in a social pickle in school because most teens feel they have no friends, the parent could probably offer to host a party or a sleepover at home. The parent could take care of the food, drinks and movies, while the teen works on warming up to the other kids in class.
The bottom line is that these things might seem trivial at first, but make a world of difference in the lives of teenagers. If the parent has the power to make things happen, even things that are not really that challenging on the parent’s part (just a matter of coordination), then do them. Teach teens that they do not have to face every problem alone, but rather, they have a support system in place to help them come up with productive and healthy ways to handle such problems.
Exerting effort to help also means checking up on your teenagers after some time. Catch up and encourage them to give an update on things happening in life. See if the stressors have lessened or are gone altogether. This practice offers clues as to whether or not any more assistance is still required.
A parent can never completely take the stress away from a teen because there will always be stressful situations popping up. By being involved in your son’s or daughter’s life and helping them overcome stress in specific areas, they will quickly learn that they are not alone and have someone to turn to. Simply lend a listening ear, talk about solutions, and be there to make sure things are getting better.