The American Psychological Association shows that teen stress has increased to epidemic levels and called it a medical health hazard. Parents need to be aware, get involved, and trust their instinct. Our youth are dealing with complicated societal pressures unlike anything we have ever imagined. Dating, peer pressure, technology, academics, sports, changing family dynamics, the economy, and our fast paced schedules all add to today’s stressors. Our teens may be plugged in 24 hours a day, but they are disconnecting from their parents. We must stay connected with our teenagers, recognize the stress they are under, and empower them to manage life in a healthy manner.
1. Your parenting style should include self-care. Let your children see you balancing your life in an effort to manage stress. Using relaxation techniques like deep breathing and positive statements, or scheduling downtime sets a good example for your family.
2. Talk to your teen. Figure out when their guard is most likely to be down and use that time to communicate. Some teens get chatty in the car and others late at night. Stay up for a late night snack with your teen.
3. Share stories about challenges you experienced as a teen and how you handled it. Make sure to share and laugh about the mistakes you made. Teens are more likely to share their challenges after a story than a direct question.
5. Schedule downtime with your teen. Go for lunch, horseback riding, or shoot hoops. Take them out of their usual environment. You’ll be surprised how your teen will let their walls down doing something outdoors.
6. Pay attention to what you say to your teen. Take a break from criticizing and correcting. Give your teen a compliment each day. Tell and text your teen, “I love you.”
7. Expose your teen to relaxation techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, visualizing, progressive muscular relaxation, and positive statements. I just released a 2 CD set called Indigo Teen Dreams introducing teenagers to stress and anger management, while building their self-esteem.
8. Help your teen with time management and balancing their schedules. Be sure to include downtime.
9. Discuss the future and address life changes like job loss or divorce with your teen. Explain how this will impact your teen’s life and talk it through to a positive hopeful outcome.
Teens resist parents but deep down they want and appreciate your guidance. The American Psychology Association reports that 86 percent of tweens and 74 percent of teens want to talk to their parents about the things that cause them stress. So let’s get our teens talking and managing stress.