Today’s teens live in a very different world compared to teens just 20 years ago. Because of the various changes such as advanced technology and greater media influence their lives have sped up and modified just as adult lives have.
Unfortunately, these changes have also brought a great deal of stress to teens. Because stress is related to many illnesses, both physical and mental, and to happiness and success, it is important for parents to help their children deal with stress and acquire stress reducing techniques.
What can parents do to help teens reduce or manage stress?
It’s not always so much as getting outside help as it is about being involved in your teens lives.
1. Be involved in your children’s lives and be supportive.
2. Communicate with your teens and provide a support system: 1) Ask how each day was. 2) Find out what is going on if you notice something. Don’t allow your teen to shut you out. 3) Don’t be judgmental—it will add more stress.
3. Be a good role model. Be the person you want your children to be.
4. Spend family time together. Family is the best buffer against stress, drug abuse, giving in to peer-pressure, early sexual activity.
5. Offer praise and encouragement for all jobs well done. Don’t forget to reward bravery and attempts at new things.
What can teens do to reduce their stress levels?
Teach teens to manage their stress is essential to their health and success. Discuss the following with them:
1. Don’t over-schedule. If you're having a hard time juggling all your activities or if you feel you can’t give your best to any of your activities you are probably over-scheduled. Cut out the least important or fun activities.
2. Break up big tasks into smaller chunks. This will make big tasks easier to tackle and it won’t stress you out as much. Also be sure to take action to complete the little tasks as they come.
3. Just be yourself. No one is perfect and no one is better than anyone else. Enjoy what comes to you naturally and focus on your strengths and values.
4. Rest. Getting enough sleep is extremely important to re-energize your body and get you ready for the next day. Exercise and Eat Healthy. Moderate exercise and healthy food is known to help people manage stress. Schedule in regular exercise and choose to reduce the amount of junk food you eat.
5. Be positive. Your outlook, attitude, and thoughts influence the way you see things. Is your cup half full or half empty? A healthy dose of optimism can help you make the best of stressful circumstances. Even if you're out of practice, or tend to be a bit of a pessimist, everyone can learn to think more optimistically and reap the benefits.
6. Have a support system (parents, friends) you can ask for help: With caring people around you, you won’t feel alone. Talking to people often feels like we have removed a burden from our shoulders.
7. Believe in yourself: You will succeed if you know that you can keep working toward your goals.
Interested in hearing about more teen stress reduction techniques? Contact Teen Life Coach and Mentor, Ivana Pejakovic, and speak to her about helping your teen manage stress.