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Helping Teenagers with Stress
When we talk about stress, most people think about how we react to problems that are difficult to deal with. Sometimes these problems are major "life events" that are unexpected or unusual. The family may be having financial difficulties. Parents may be going through a divorce. Teens may be breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. Perhaps the teen has been hurt in an accident. Other problems are more common day-to-day difficulties.
The two most important things to know about teenagers dealing with stress:
The most common sources of day-to-day stress for teens are:
Other sources of stress for teens might include:
Parents can help their teen in these ways:
Teens can decrease stress with the following behaviors and techniques:
Some teens become overloaded with stress.
When it happens, inadequately managed stress can lead to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical illness, or poor coping skills (e.g., drug use, alcohol use, self-injury, eating disorders). If your teen talks about or shows signs of being overly stressed, a consultation with a qualified mental health professional may be helpful.
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For a fraction of the cost of sending a child away to a residential program, parents can learn how to handle even the trickiest situations, and take charge of the family. Parents will confidently resolve the problems AT HOME. This is what a Family Coach is for: to support the parents, build them up and guide them to be the best parents they can be!
Practical Help, Real Answers
for Adoptive & Foster Parents
by Mary Pipher
Families today are experiencing a new set of realities. Working parents are harried, tired, and overextended. They are unable to protect their children from the enemy within, the inappropriate television they watch for hours, the computer games that keep them from playing outside, the virtual reality they tune in to when they should be learning about the real world. And so, Pipher says, we have houses without walls. Compounding this is the fact that our psychological theories don't work anymore, because they were developed decades ago, when families were tightly knit, relatively monolithic institutions. Pipher offers ideas for simple actions we can all take to help rebuild our families and strengthen our communities.
A Teen's Personalized Guide to Managing Stress ~ Causes and effects of stress, Creating your personal stress-management plan, When to turn for help.
Academic Performance Top Cause of Teen Stress ~ Among 13-17 year olds, school is by far the most commonly mentioned source. Among 18-24 year olds, it’s jobs and financial matters. In all, fully 85 percent of young people said they felt stress at least sometimes.
Adolescent Stress and Depression ~ Growing up — negotiating a path between independence and reliance on others — is a tough business. It creates stress, and it can create serious depression for young people ill-equipped to cope, communicate and solve problems.
Does Adolescent Stress Lead to Mood Disorders in Adulthood? ~ There may be a link between the recent rise in the rates of depression and other mood disorders and the increase of daily stress.
The Effects of Divorce on Children (pdf) ~ Divorce is highly stressful for teens. They experience anger, fear, loneliness, depression, and guilt. Some feel pushed into adulthood if they must take responsibility for many new chores or care of siblings. Teens may respond to parents' low energy level and high stress level by trying to take control over the family. Others feel a loss of parental support. Teens also may doubt their own ability to get married or stay married.
Family Resiliency: Building Strengths to Meet Life's Challenges (pdf) ~ Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from stress and crisis. It is displayed in individuals as optimism, resourcefulness, and determination. It is seen in families that build caring support systems and solve problems creatively.
Helping Children Understand Divorce ~ Children’s understanding of parental divorce depends on their developmental stage. It is important for parents to know what thoughts and feelings children of different ages may be having so that they can modify their own behaviors to help children adjust to the divorce. Teens understand what divorce means but may have difficulty accepting the reality of the changes it brings to their family.
Helping Teens Cope ~ Adolescents may be strongly affected by natural or human-caused disasters such as earthquakes, health emergencies, terrorist attacks or acts of war. Even indirect exposure to such events through media coverage may challenge their coping skills.
Stress Makes Teen Acne Worse ~ Researchers found teenagers who were under high levels of stress were 23% more likely to have increased acne severity.
Stress's Ill Effects ~ If your teen seems to be sick a lot, don't ignore the symptoms -- they're real.
The Science of Stress ~ Stress can cause hair to fall out, acne to break out, and many other problems. These manifestations of stress can cause even more anxiety.
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