by Anna Hicks
Between homework, friends, extracurricular activities, and trips to Grandma’s house, a teen’s routine can be crazy…and it can quickly produce that “bogged down by stress” feeling. Having a stressed teenager can be troublesome for the whole family. As teens do not have the resources or the ability acquired through time that adults do for coping with stress, it can set the stage for unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and decisions that could enhance the risk of experiencing stress-related health ailments down the road.
Fortunately, there’s a lot that parents can do to help their teen children cope with stress. Below we’ve shared some simple techniques to help you get started.
1. Help Them Chill
Is your child feeling “back to school” jitters? Don’t freak out. Instead of letting the feeling stop or intimidate your kid, just let it be there. That said, help your child stay calm and relaxed. Teach them some breathing techniques or put together a playlist of their favorite tunes. If they’re suffering from excessive sweating, SweatBlock or another similar antiperspirant formula can be used to stop the sweaty embarrassment and restore their calmness. Advanced formulas are effective for 4-7 days, so they can be convenient in helping teens get through their day without provoking insecurity or crushing self-doubt that follows with excessive sweating from stress.
2. Ensure They Seek Help When Needed
Remind your daughter or son that it’s okay to seek help – whether for stress, mental health, or social issues. Is your teen familiar with mental health services offered in his/her college? Encourage children to familiarize themselves with such resources and create a list of people they can reach out to on and off campus if they’re caught up in an emergency. If you’re worried that your child might be going through alcohol or drug addiction, consult with a healthcare therapist right away. Also, remind them that using alcohol and certain substances can negatively impact their well-being, relationships, and classwork. Come from the angle of love. For instance, you can say that “I’d be devastated if something bad happened to you.”
3. Teach Them to Manage Responsibilities
If your teen finds it hard to manage tasks and responsibilities, equip them with the tools they need to get back on track. For instance, you can get them a low-end smartphone with a planning app or to-do list to keep track of social responsibilities, assignments, homework, chores, and other obligations. Of course, planning is of little use if they don’t do what they’re planning: Coping with stress also means being on top of presentations, getting homework done on time, and beating procrastination. Sit down with your child and reflect how things are going for him/her.
4. Offer Assistance to Help Them Overcome Fears
Does your child want to avoid situations that may trigger stress? As a parent, you might be doing your best to help them do so. It’s natural, but in the long run, avoidance can make stress worse. Instead, parents should practice laddering. It’s a process of breaking stress down into manageable chunks. For instance, if the child is afraid of airplanes, create mini-goals to help them get closer to the big goal. For example, you can take them to the airport, and ask them to observe how calm people are before they set off on their journey. Do it step-by-step until exposure becomes easy.
Toward the aim of a stress-free life for the entire family, taking these measures will help build coping skills in your child.