It’s not always easy to help a teen deal with stress. After all, you don’t “see” them struggling because they’re almost always in their room or busy with school. Or if you do know that they’re anxious, they refuse to be helped, telling you to back off and leave them alone. One thing you can do in these situations is to understand why your teen is feeling this way. In cases where you feel helpless, exercise empathy. Here are possible reasons why your child is stressed out:
Kids spend a considerable amount of time in school, so there’s a possibility that their struggles come from it. Your teen might be worrying about flunking an exam or getting low grades. They can also be stressed when applying to college, deciding which major to pursue, or coming up with a decent essay for their dream university.
There’s also a social component here. Most teens strive to please their teachers and keep up with their classmates’ performance, and sometimes that pressure takes a toll on emotional health, triggering self-esteem issues. If you notice that your teen is so fixated on their homework or projects or agitated when you tell them to take a break when studying, it’s likely that they’re experiencing academic pressure.
While this can strike anytime during the school year, it usually happens at the start of the term. It takes on a new level of stress if you send them to a new school. The best way to address academic pressure is to let them understand the value of rest.
This isn’t new. Teens place high regard for their standing among their peers. Remember, they’re exploring their identities, and a considerable part of that is knowing what others say about them. So the pressure to fit in and have friends is there. Unfortunately, belonging to a group in high school isn’t as easy as sharing a toy in the local playground like before. It’s sometimes marked by dares to drink, use illegal substances, or engage in sex.
Now, you might think that your child is safe from all these, given all the years of good parenting. But note that special occasions in life can drive them to do these things so that they’ll feel that sense of belonging. Divorce, loss of a loved one, and relocation are some of these triggers. The last one is often overlooked because it’s not as “serious” as the others.
However, note that relocation can shake up the social circle of your teen. They’re leaving their current friends and entering a different community, so the craving to fit in instantly is stronger. If you’re planning to relocate, aside from paying attention to the logistics of it, consider your child’s emotions. Hire professional moving services so that you can direct your energy on making sure that your child feels secure.
Information about the world is accessible thanks to the Internet and social media. Unfortunately, not all information is positive. Your teens are always on their phones, receiving all these facts about nuclear threats, immigrant issues, school shootings, and more. Although your teen is already on their way to adulthood, they’re not equipped to handle such information. Your child can easily be overwhelmed, if not downright scared about the world. One of the ways to reduce the impact of these things is to reduce screen time. Yes, you can do this even with teens. Have tech-free zones in your home, like the dining or family room. When your children enter such areas, they shouldn’t use their phones.
Ultimately, teenage stress is real. Your child might be experiencing it, so don’t be oblivious to their struggles. Pay attention to the mentioned stressors.