July 24, 2022

It hurts to watch your teen struggle. As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to help them. Unfortunately, they're at that age where they want to do things independently and may not turn to you even when they need you most.

When it comes to teen stress, you can't just fix their problems for them. But there are ways you can help. Understanding their stress and teaching them healthy ways to cope with it can make a world of difference. To help you navigate this chapter of their teenage years, we've put together a guide on teen stress, including what's causing it, how to identify it, and how you can help your teen cope.

what is causing your teenager so much stress

What's Causing My Teen So Much Stress?

Teen problems feel bigger because they are. This is the first time your teen has had to juggle so many emotions and responsibilities, and they haven't fully developed the skills to deal with them effectively. It's no wonder teens sometimes feel like they're about to break under pressure. They are carrying a lot. 

Anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders are common in teens. Many of these issues can go undiagnosed as many teenagers struggle to express their feelings, or they may be afraid to tell anyone.
how to help your teenager cope with stress

This list includes some of the most common stressors for teenagers:

School: The pressure to do well academically, get into a good college, and decide on a future career path can be overwhelming for teens.

Social media: Social media puts constant pressure on teens to compare themselves to others, leading to intense feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

Body changes: Puberty brings a whole host of physical changes that teens may not be comfortable with. This can be a source of stress and anxiety, especially for early or late bloomers.

Family issues: Parents getting divorced, financial problems, sick or disabled family members, moving, and other family issues can add to a teen's stress.

Relationship problems: Breakups, bullying, fighting in their friend group, and peer pressure can be difficult for your teen to cope with.

Juggling responsibilities: They may be trying to balance schoolwork with a job or extracurricular activities. Or they might be taking on more responsibility at home, like caring for younger siblings.

Sexual activity: Deciding whether or not to have sex, dealing with peer pressure, and learning about contraception and STDs can be a lot for teens to handle.

Mental Health: Anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders are common in teens. Many of these issues can go undiagnosed as many teenagers struggle to express their feelings, or they may be afraid to tell anyone.

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Tips to Help Your Teen Cope With Their Stress

Your teen's stress is a delicate subject, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't talk about it. In fact, open communication is one of the best ways you can help your teen cope with their stress.

Be patient with your teen and understand that your first attempt at talking about their stress may not go as planned. Your second and third attempts may also fail. What's important to remember is that you're still showing them that you care and that you're there for them, no matter what. It takes time and patience to build trust and rapport, so keep trying and change your approach if necessary.

Here are various ways you can help your teen cope with their stress:

Learn to listen: One of the best things you can do for your teen is to simply listen to them. This can be difficult, especially when your first instinct as a parent is to try and fix their problems. Sometimes, all your teen needs is someone to lend a listening ear. If they want a solution, advice, or help, they'll ask for it.

Writing Journal with Lock

Give them a creative outlet for self-expression and reflection: Encourage your teen to find a creative outlet for their stress, whether it's through painting, writing, music, or any other form of self-expression. Journaling is an effective way for teens to get their thoughts and feelings out. It can be therapeutic for them to unbottle their feelings by putting them on paper, and it can often help them process and make sense of what they're going through. Read about the teen mental health benefits of journaling here.

Set a good example: As a parent, you're a role model for your teen. If they see you managing your stress in healthy ways, it'll encourage them to do the same. Share your self-care routines with your teen to show them just how important it is for them to take care of themselves.

Encourage healthy coping mechanisms: Help your teen find healthy ways to cope with their stress. This could involve teaching them how to meditate, do some deep breathing exercises, or go for a walk outdoors. Physical activity can help relieve stress, so encourage your teen to get moving by taking walks together or playing a fun sport as a family.

Develop family rituals: Family rituals can help reduce stress and provide a sense of stability for your teen. This could involve having regular family dinners, game nights, or movie nights. It's a chance for your teen to relax and de-stress in a safe and supportive environment.

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Teach time management skills: A big source of teen stress is often due to poor time management skills. Help your teen by teaching them how to budget their time and prioritize their tasks. This will help them feel more in control of their life and less overwhelmed by their responsibilities.

When to seek professional help: At a certain point, you may need to seek professional help for your teen if their stress is proving to be too much for them to handle on their own. If they're exhibiting signs of  anxiety or depression, it's important to get them the help they need from a qualified mental health professional.

Take the First Step

If you're concerned about your teen's stress levels, take the first step today and talk to them about it. It's so important to have open and honest conversations about stress and how to manage it. 

Diary for Teens to Help with Stress

If you'd prefer to start with a more subtle gesture, giving them a journal is a great option. You can simply leave it in their room with a note that says, "Here's a little something you can use to vent, brainstorm, or 

just write down your thoughts. I'm always here to talk if you need me. I love you." 

By providing a safe outlet for their thoughts and feelings, you're helping them take the first step in managing their stress.

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