Helping Your Teen Manage Stress

Stress? Who me?

Stress? Who me?

The American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey was released yesterday.  The results indicate that Americans are pretty stressed overall.  We worry about work and money in particular, and struggle to manage it with healthy strategies.  Instead we reach for cookies, cigarettes, video games and participate in other sedentary activities – even though many of us know more active, healthy strategies are better for us and often more effective.

That’s pretty bad news.

But it gets worse.

The survey also found that American teenagers are experiencing stress at levels they feel is unhealthy.  In fact, their stress levels rival those of adults.  Yesterday I wrote a post about why we need to worry about it.

Today I’m focusing on what we can do to help teens manage their stress more effectively. Here it is:

Let them watch us manage stress in healthy, effective ways ourselves.

  • That means, instead of guzzling beer and M and M’s in front of the TV after a tough day, perhaps we should take a walk or dance around the kitchen
  • That means, instead of logging into Facebook and ranting about our boss, perhaps we should play a game with our teen or get a manicure
  • That means, instead of zoning out and playing Minecraft, perhaps we should read a book or phone a friend

Kids learn from watching us. It’s a big responsibility for parents to be constant role models.  But it’s also a big relief because it means we can have a positive, lasting impact on our kids’ health.

For more information about talking to teens about stress check out the American Psychological Association’s tips here.

For more information about whether your child could benefit from seeing a psychologist, check out my article here.