Tips For Helping Teens Manage Stress

By Tanni Haas, Ph.D. | Taxpayer

Being a teenager is stressful. Teenagers are expected to do well in school and fit in with their friends. On top of everything else, there is the discomfort of developing physically on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

The good news is that there is a lot that parents can do to help relieve stress. Here’s what the experts suggest:

Create a more responsive home environment

Parents often think that because teens gravitate toward their friends, they no longer play a big role in their lives; Could not be farther from the truth. Parents are very important to teens, and especially when it comes to helping them deal with stress. To really be there for your teens, make sure your interactions are calm and engaging. “The goal”, says the sociologist Dr. Cristina Carterauthor of the new adolescence and other books for parents, “is that they feel seen and heard by you”. Clinical psychologist Dr David Lowenstein agrees that parents should do everything they can to create a stress-free haven at home: “When your teen feels accepted and at peace at home,” he or she will be better prepared to face the outside world.

Promote self-reflection

marthe teixeira, a life and wellness coach, says it’s important not to “jump to conclusions or give advice right off the bat” when helping your teens deal with stress. Instead, help them reflect on how they can handle stress on their own.

Teach them how to break down a complex situation into smaller, more manageable parts.

For example, if they are stressed about a big school project, ask them to estimate how long the project will take to complete, and then have them spread the work out over multiple days to create a more realistic and less stressful schedule. Share your own experiences with a problem you are facing. “Share how you successfully handled the problem,” he says dr chinwe williamsa professional counselor, and “then allow your teen to explore their own thoughts and feelings related to what you’ve shared.”

Be an example to follow

If your teens are going to learn from your experiences, you need to be a role model. “The best way to help your teen manage their stress levels,” says pediatrician Cannon Dr. Stacy Leatherwood“it’s modeling healthy coping strategies yourself” or, as Ms. Teixeira neatly sums it up: “practice what you preach”.

Encourage physical activity

Encourage them to participate in a lot of physical activity. “Physical activity”, says clinical psychologist Dr Erlanger Turner, “is one of the most effective anti-stress”. He especially recommends activities that they can do together with others. “Whether teens play team sports or prefer kayaking or rollerblading with one or two friends,” says Dr. Turner, “they’re more likely to have fun, and keep it up, if they do it with friends.”

Experts agree that teens should get the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

get enough sleep

Physical activity is sure to make your teens burn out. life coach Pamela Willsey says that “a good night’s sleep is one of the best stress-reducing remedies out there.” Experts agree that the best way to ensure teens get the recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night is to have them stick to a consistent sleep schedule, limit afternoon naps, and turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before to go to bed The so-called blue light emitted by electronic devices sends a signal to their brains that suppresses melatonin production and prevents them from feeling tired.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tanni Haas, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Arts, Sciences and Communication Disorders at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College.

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