Episode 7: Teens and Stress: Tips for Parents
We are going to talk today about why today’s teens are so stressed and how we can help.
Tobacco and drug use is symptomatic of other problems and if youth are using substances to cope we need to look at why they are feeling so stressed. With finals this week in our local schools, it’s a good time to look at whether or not our kids are stressed and how we can support them.
We’ve always had stress but today is an especially stressful time to be a young person. Most teens are feeling the pressures of getting into college, juggling extra curricular activities and jobs and then in addition may have problems at home, with friends and relationships. It can feel like a lot. Youth aren’t always taught how to manage their mental health and it’s important for parents and adults to focus on this.
Families can help teens deal with stress in healthy ways. A good starting place is for parents to look at how they mange their stress. For example, if they are turning to alcohol to unwind, kids watch this and learn that this is a way to cope. This is dangerous to kids as they have developing brains and are much more susceptible to substance use. If they are vaping, smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol or using another substance to feel better it is dangerous. Adults can model healthy ways to handle stress by going for a walk, talking to friends, doing some fun activities and making sure their lives are balanced.
Parents can look for signs of stress in their kids. If kids are getting sick a lot, not sleeping well or melting down emotionally these can be signs of stress. Encouraging our kids to get enough of sleep, eat healthy foods and exercise can help. Also focusing on the process of things rather than the outcome helps. Making sure kids aren’t too overscheduled is also important.