Do you remember the first time you experienced stress? You may have been a teen or even a child – everyone experiences stress at some point. For some, it can help them develop the skills they need to deal with possible threatening situations throughout life. For others, it is a hindrance that does not allow them to process their feelings. The symptoms of stress may be either physical or emotional and everyone, including teenagers, deals with stress differently.
So, how can we help our teens cope with stress?
- Be caring, empathetic and affectionate.
Teens need a lot of love and care. Try to give them emotional security by listening to them intently and being as supportive as possible. It is important to note that some research suggests that extreme levels of parental protection can be counterproductive. Try finding a balance – remember, balance is the key to everything.
- Listen attentively.
Your teen needs you now more than ever. Make sure to listen to them without making judgments and without rushing to offer your own solutions. Try not to give advice too quickly either. Before you chime in, give them time to analyze what’s causing them to feel stressed and if possible, let them solve their own problems.
- Be supportive.
Changes are constantly happening for teens – their styles, their hair, their friends, everything! Emphasize that you love them unconditionally and that you admire and respect them for the efforts they’re making to tackle the challenges they face on a daily basis.
- Attend to the basics.
Sleep, food, and exercise. When teens are stressed, the essentials can take a backseat. Do whatever you can to help them get enough sleep, eat healthily, and exercise regularly. A sense of balance in the basics will help them better manage their stress.
- Help them get involved.
Keep them busy – but not too busy! Involving teens in extracurricular activities may result in stress, however, it may also be beneficial in distracting them from any negative feelings. Encourage them to join a club, sport or activity and observe how they manage with having extra tasks on their plate.
- Get help.
It can be painful seeing our loved ones’ experience stress, especially our children. If you sense your teen has a damaging level of anxiety and stress, reach out to a professional or their school counselor for help.