Is Stress Affecting Your Teen’s Mental Health?

a mother talks to her child about how stress is affecting their mental health

Life is full of tight schedules, difficult choices, and other situations that can induce an expected level of stress. This is especially the case during the teenage years, when your teen may feel like they’re on the precipice of some of life’s hardest choices. As adults, we understand the stress and feel it’s detrimental to our lives, but we tend to forget that young people experience stress, too. It affects their well-being, and they may not realize that there are healthy ways to cope with stress. Parents and other adults need to be aware of how stress is affecting young people and need to be prepared to help.

Over the last few decades, the teen mental health crisis has been receiving the attention that it deserves. Current estimates are that just short of half of all American adolescents will have experienced some type of mental illness by the time they reach adulthood, whether it’s an eating disorder, seasonal affective depression, or anxiety. The stressful nature of adolescence either causes or worsens existing mental health problems, and it’s simply the nature of most teens to withhold their issues for the sake of independence or autonomy. This puts the responsibility to reach out to their parents to engage in dialogue about stress or mental well-being. If you don’t know where to start, contact us at 17135283709 to ask about conversational skills you can use, as well as our teen mental health treatment services.

What’s to Blame for Teen Stress?

There isn’t one origin point for all the stress that plagues the teenagers of today. The cause of all of this stress could be tied to “the teen experience” — the result of mental and physical maturation, combined with all the variables that come attached: college, moving out of their parent’s house, relationships, and so on. Stress is partially intrinsic to all of this; change is sometimes stressful. With that said, these concerningly high levels of stress among teens point to some root cause, and many scientists believe it’s one that parents can make a big difference in.

Many teenagers, especially those in college, reported finding extreme difficulty in measuring up to the expectations set for them, either by their parents, peers, or themselves. There is a devastating feeling, quite like falling short of what others had hoped or demanded, and it’s all but guaranteed to happen to everyone at some point. The responsibility parents have is to ensure their teen feels like they can achieve their goals without overworking themselves. Talk to them about your expectations, standards, and how too much pressure can incur serious harm.

Stress and Teens: Symptoms to Take Seriously

Being stressed has a wide assortment of symptoms. The presence or absence of one doesn’t determine whether or not your teen is stressed out, but keep an eye out for a cluster of the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Poor concentration
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Declining academic performance
  • Increase in negative language or attitude
  • Worries or anxiety

It’s common for teens not to voice exactly how they’re feeling and not because of any malicious intent. In addition to watching for these symptoms, ensure you and your teen maintain comfort and openness. It’s counterintuitive but avoid any invasive practices. They can sometimes permanently damage the established trust between teens and their parents.

The Right Step Helps Teens Cope With Stress

Parents and other adults can help teenagers even more by teaching and demonstrating healthy ways to deal with stressful situations and with stress in general. Help your teen by starting a conversation about their expectations and how they make them feel. Encouraging them to talk about these things is, in itself, a positive way to cope with stress. You can also use the conversations to discuss ways in which they can handle situations that cause them stress. It’s also important to teach your teen relaxation strategies that will serve them throughout their life. If you practice them together, you will both teach and model these positive strategies for them. Go for walks together, learn to meditate, or take a yoga class together. Spending time with your teen and working on stress reduction will be a positive experience for both of you.

Stress is an inevitable component of life, and there’s no harder way to manage it than by yourself. Teen mental health is still a growing concern worldwide, which is why The Right Step offers a guided treatment program for teen stress. Contact us at 17135283709 to learn about our teen mental health treatment program so you can ensure your teen maintains a healthy relationship with their expectations and emotions.

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