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Managing Teen Stress: The Do’s And Don’ts

managing teen stress

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When it comes to managing teen stress, some approaches are more effective than others. Too much stress can harm a teen’s mental health and wellbeing, leading to anxiety and depression. Studies show that teaching teens how to regulate their nervous systems is one of the most important things you can do to help them deal with stress. To show signs of improvement, stress management techniques must have a component that takes the physical stress response into account. Simply talking to a teen about an issue is rarely enough, nor is encouraging them to be positive and look at the bright side. Let’s look at how managing teen stress can help you and your family.

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What Are The Signs Of Stress In Teenagers?

Being able to identify the signs of stress in teens is the first step to getting them help. If a teen in your life is stressed out, they may display behavioral and physical changes. There can be changes to their sleeping patterns, where they are either not getting enough rest, or are oversleeping. The teen in your life might be getting sick often, experiencing headaches, fatigue, and other physical symptoms. There can also be a change in attitude or disposition, where teens become irritable and develop a negative outlook on life, and may even begin to act out by skipping school or not being responsible for chores and schoolwork. 

BasePoint Teen Program

PHP/IOP

Our Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs offer your teen the opportunity to receive effective treatment in a safe space to learn and practice new coping skills during the day and return home in the evening.

Medication Management

In addition to therapy services, our psychiatrist, along with the medical staff, will complete a thorough examination to address the physical needs along with the mental health medication needs in order to assist your teen in achieving their best self.

Education

At BasePoint,  we value the importance of education. Our school program not only focuses on treatment but appreciates the role of education as part of the healing process.  Our education counselor, along with our entire team, partner with local school districts to formulate a successful education plan while they are in our care.

What Causes Stress In Teenagers

Teen stress can often rival the stress that adults experience. Not only are teens going through physical changes, but they are also adapting to evolving social situations, and have more academic responsibilities to contend with. Stress hormones can cause elevated or slower heart rates, which can contribute to anxiety and a general feeling of unease.

According to the American Psychological Association, teen stress statistics show that 59% of teens feel stressed out when they try to balance all of their activities and commitments. 40% of teens report that stress causes them to feel irritable and neglect their responsibilities, while 30% feel sad or depressed because of stress. Anxiety in teens and teen depression are serious issues that need to be professionally addressed, as they tend to get worse if left untreated. Coping with stress effectively, on the other hand, makes a huge difference to teens’ well-being and future success. 

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The Don’ts When Handling An Anxious Teen

Although it’s natural to offer emotional support and encouragement to your teen, it’s important not to sugarcoat things or minimize their experience by saying that the issue at hand is not a big deal. When a teen comes to you with a problem, it can add to your feelings of stress or frustration, but becoming reactive or projecting your fears and worries onto them won’t help. Another thing not to do is to infantilize the teenager in your life –  they are no longer a child and won’t appreciate being treated like one. Here are some other things not to do when handling an anxious teen: 

  • Tell them how much harder life is for adults
  • Compare them to friends or peers
  • Be dismissive or react with high emotion 
  • Coordinate all their activities and over plan their life 
  • Threaten them or try to problem-solve while they are upset 
  • Tell them anxiety isn’t serious and that they should just ‘be positive’

The Do’s For Handling A Stressed Out Teen

There are many things you can do to help an anxious teen. Teens can often feel like they aren’t being seen and heard, but also want to be treated with respect and care. Here are some things you can do when handling a stressed-out teen in your life: 

  • Ask them about their life, and be prepared to listen with an open mind
  • Validate their experience without trying to fix everything 
  • Praise them for positive behavior and effort 
  • Offer them specific encouragement and support 
  • Let them know that you love them and show affection 
  • Ask how you can help without trying to fix things for them
  • Ask strategic questions that can help them problem solve 
  • Be calm when you communicate, even if they are reactive 
teens in IOP

Effective Coping Strategies For Teens

Learning how to deal with stress is a vital life skill. Here are a few effective coping strategies that can help teens self regulate: 

  • Have a clearly defined workspace for homework that is separate from their bed and other areas where relaxing activities take place 
  • Set an alarm to check in periodically throughout the day and see how they are feeling 
  • Take a few 15 – 30 minute self-care breaks throughout the day to watch a tv show, eat a snack, or go for a walk
  • Have an emphasis on family time and set aside time for enjoyable outings with friends 
  • Take frequent breaks from technology and spend time in nature
  • Regular physical activity and exercise such as yoga, running, sports, or bike riding
  • Contact a psychologist that specializes in teen stress management and mental health who can develop a tailored plan for their specific needs and situation

How We Can Help You

As experienced and compassionate mental health professionals, we know how to help teens manage stress. We understand that the pressure many teens face at school and home can cause a lot of stress and uncertainty. We help teens develop effective coping strategies and life skills that will empower them to feel more in control of their lives. If you or your teen are struggling with anxiety or depression as a result of stress, contact us today. We pride ourselves on helping our teen clients in safe, family-centered settings and offer a range of treatments and programs that can help. 

Sources:

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2020/report-october

https://www.verywellmind.com/signs-your-teen-is-stressed-out-2611336

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/special-matters/201904/the-dos-and-don-ts-parenting-anxious-teen

BASEPOINT ACADEMY

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We would love to speak with you to get your teen on the path toward optimal wellness. Our complimentary assessment will provide you with a recommendation for the appropriate level of care for your Teen. Call us today to schedule a complimentary assessment 972-325-2633
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