We often think of stress as being a bad thing. But stress can actually be a very good motivator when we have a balance on it and allow ourselves to sink into the challenge in a positive way.
Stress can also negatively impact our lives and cause upheaval to our days, weeks, and even years when not addressed. It’s not unusual for our teens to feel the burden of stress throughout their adolescence, and when this stress tips over to the negative side it sees them in a constant state of fight or flight. When this happens, we may need to step in and help.
5 Reasons Teens May Be Stressed
1: Social Media
Social media is one of the primary causes of stress for today’s teenagers. They live with a constant comparative platform telling them they’re not good enough and fighting to reach unattainable goals. TikTok, Instagram, and more can lead to cyberbullying, poor self-image and self-worth, and increased stress levels.
2: Overburdened And Over-Scheduled
Our kids can feel stressed because they are constantly busy. Between extra-curricular activities and clubs, part-time jobs, schoolwork and a packed social calendar due to a fear of missing out, teenagers are overburdened and overscheduled, leading to poor boundaries and stress.
3: Helicopter Parents
Added to this, some teens may feel the stress exacerbated by parents who hover and continually ensure they are on the right track with their sports, education, and goals. This pressure adds untold stress to their lives.
4: The Inner Voice
Learning to silence that inner voice that talks negatively to us is a skill our teenagers are still learning. When it comes to those inner thoughts that can plague us, teens may not know how to interpret, listen, or ignore them.
Growing up is tough. We may be so far removed from our teen years that we have forgotten just how difficult puberty is!
How To Spot A Stressed Teen
Teenagers are an enigma at the best of times, but simple cues can tell us what is going on behind the scenes.
- Acting out of character
- Avoiding conversations
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Problems at school
- Physical pains such as a sick stomach or headaches
- Sleep more (or less) than usual
- Eating more (or less) than usual
How To Help
When a child or teenager seems anxious or stressed, there are a few things we can do:
- Ask questions and listen. Listen to what is worrying, bothering, or stressing them.
- Remove the pressure that is stressing them out if possible.
- Unburden their schedule. Take away an activity and encourage downtime.
- Help them to respond to their inner thoughts to protect, nurture, and comfort them.
- Encourage self-care and self-compassion.