Growing up isn’t easy, especially when you’re a teenager. With recent studies showing that 34% of teens experience moderate or severe stress (a large increase on previous figures), it’s certainly a growing area of concern for any parent. Here at Tutor Doctor we know that teenagers experience many pressures during these difficult years, which is why we’ve come up with some ways in which you can help your teen de-stress.
First: Recognise the signs of stress
It’s important that you can recognise the signs of stress in your teen if they appear. Often you may notice physical symptoms or a change in their behaviour. This can be anything from acting moody to just being negative. Other symptoms may include sudden headaches, stomach aches and a general sense of feeling sick, eating and sleeping too much or too little, avoiding parents and friendship groups, isolating themselves as well as panic attacks. Even though some of these traits are typical of a teenager, if you notice a few in conjunction then it’s time to take action. If you are extremely concerned, always seek medical attention as soon as possible and talk to their school/college to see if they help.
What can parents do to help?
Teaching your children healthy ways of dealing with stress can be an empowering skill that can be taken with them to adulthood. Here’s a few suggestions that are simple but effective ways to help them de-stress!
Just being there for your teenager is sometimes enough when it comes to them dealing with stress. Often things can be very overwhelming and difficult to handle, meaning stress gets bottled up. Reminding them that you are there for them and that they can talk to you about anything will be a one less stress in of itself. You can also offer a fresh pair of eyes on whatever may be stressing them out and provide a different perspective on problems they are facing.
Remind them- Grades aren’t everything!
All parents want their kids to achieve amazing grades. However, it’s important to not add additional pressure to achieve them -- after all, your teen has probably already added enough stress on themselves as it is! Instead, remind them to try their best and study smart. If they fail, it’s okay- it’s a normal part of life and they can always re-take exams or find an alternative route. In fact, the sooner your teen learns that failure is a part of life and nothing to stress about the better -- all they can do is get back up and try again!
Encourage more sleep
It’s true when they say that a good night’s sleep can do the world of good! No matter how your son or daughter may act, they still need at least 9 hours of sleep per night! Studies even show that teenagers that get less sleep have a lot more difficulty when it comes to memory and concentration and are more likely to have depressive thoughts. Setting appropriate bedtimes for teens is just as important as it was when they were younger. Remember, not only will it do them the world of good, it’s also crucial for good mental health.
Exercise is good for teens (Really!)
Exercise may seem like the worst thing in the world for some teenagers, but we now know that it works wonders for stress! Try to encourage your teenage son or daughter to do a little bit of exercise a couple of times a week. It doesn’t have to be intense, a 20-minute walk with the dog, going swimming for half an hour or perhaps takings part in an after school sporting activity is more than enough. Anything that gets the heart pumping will be sure to lower stress levels and also improve their mood.
Keep a journal
Sometimes it’s difficult for teens to express why they feel stressed, or maybe they might not want to share everything with you. If that’s the case, that’s okay! Why not suggest that they keep a journal? Dedicating 10 minutes a day to write about a specific situation that is bothering them will not only be extremely therapeutic but can often help them find their own ways to solve problems or find a new angle on a situation.