How You Can Help Your Teen Manage Stress

It’s that time of the year again, where parents and youth alike are gearing up for the new school year.  This is an exciting time for youth whether it be starting high school, entering middle school, or starting somewhere new altogether.  While this is an exciting time, it is also a stressful time, especially for our youth.  They are going through a lot socially and emotionally.  Our youth are making new friends, creating new routines, getting back into the groove of extracurricular activities and homework, and above all learning about themselves and where they fit in, which can be challenging.

It is important that we recognize and understand the amount of stress going back to school can cause our youth.  As you may know, some stress is good and it teaches us to be resilient and hardworking. Stress can be bad when it doesn’t go away or when youth turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with it.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stress can lead to:

  • Anger, tension, and irritability
  • Reduced interest in usual activities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches, back pains, and stomach aches
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Alcohol and drug use

So what can you do, as parent, to help your teen cope with stress?  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following tips for parents:

  • Maintain a normal schedule- A regular routine like waking up on time, going to school, doing homework, and having a family dinner provides your teen with a sense of stability.
  • Talk, listen, and encourage expression- Talk with your teen about their day, how school is going, if there is anything that they are concerned about, and listen nonjudgmentally.  Regularly check in to see how they are doing and coping, to show and offer support.
  • Watch- Watch how your teen behaves- have there been any changes?  If you notice a change in your child’s behavior be sure to check in and offer support.
  • Reassure your teen- When your teen is stressed, be sure to reassure them that they will make it through this difficulty and remind them that they are safe and cared for.

For more information on stress and how to cope, please click here.