Helping Teens Deal with Stress

As young adults, teenagers can expect to experience increased levels of stress as they continue their journey toward maturity.  Learning effective coping strategies is an integral part of successfully managing the effects of stress.

Teenagers find themselves at a precarious in-between point in life.  They are mature enough to be able to identify painful, dangerous, and difficult situations, yet they are not emotionally developed enough to have the internal resources to effectively deal with them.  Add to the mix fluctuating hormones and changing body appearance and this predicament can be very stressful at times.  Some of the normal stressors in a teen’s life are as follows:
* Negative thoughts about themselves
* Problems with friends
* Peer pressure to engage in damaging behavior
* Too many school activities
* High expectations

When teens become overloaded with stress, the results can be disastrous.  They can develop behavior patterns that lead to a lifetime of problems such as depression and, anxiety, or worse, alcohol and drug abuse.

How Parents Can Help
Some teens seem to recover from challenging situations and bounce back quickly, while others become withdrawn and solitary.  Here are some things for parents to keep in mind when a teenager seems to be too stressed out:
* Show lots of love.  This can be a challenge to parents during these trying years, but this is the time when your teen needs to know that you really love them no matter what.  Even if they appear to shun your affection, they really want and appreciate it.
* Be realistic.  Even though we all wish for perfect children, all teens are going to miss the mark from time to time.  Be forgiving and concentrate on teaching them the benefit of right choices.  They will get it, eventually.
* Keep your teen involved in family life.  One of the hallmarks of the teen years is their growing independence.  Even though it is natural to let them grow away from you to a certain extent, they still need to know that there is a family connection that will never go away.

What Teens Can Do
As a teen matures, it is important that they realize that, at some point, they will be responsible for their own lives.  Here are some techniques that they can utilize to reduce stress.
* Eat for nutrition and exercise regularly
* Break large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.
* Learn to do your best and feel good about a job well done
* Learn to challenge negative thinking and negative self-talk
* Deep breathing exercises

Parents can help their adolescents by keeping a close eye on teen stress levels and making sure their levels don’t becoming too high.  If they do, one of the best ways to help is to provide your teen with resources that will teach them to handle stress effectively.

About Melissa J. Murphy

Melissa Murphy is in the business of building self-esteem, instilling confidence, and restoring hope in those who have given up on life. She is currently completing her degree in psychology, and has worked as a life coach and faith-based counselor for more than a decade. By bringing her personal life experiences into her work, Melissa is able to help others survive their wounds, heal their pain, and live a life of success despite having incurred overwhelming emotional scars. For the last few years, she has discovered the joys of writing and has published a growing number of articles. Melissa currently resides in the Houston area with her husband and her two wonderful children.

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