Teens today suffer from stress on a scale like never before. On social media it’s “hip” to declare that teens today have little to worry about, and that they live a carefree (or even lazy) existence. Studies show, however, that current teen stress evels are on par with adults.
As parents, we naturally want to raise our kids to be emotionally stable, well-rounded adults. With all of these stressors, however, what can we do to help them learn to manage their stress early to build positive habits that will carry them through their lives?
Life Should Be Enjoyed
Even though stress is unavoidable, how we manage it as teens—and later as adults—can make all the difference. All of the suggestions below have one common thread: calm down, take time for yourself, and enjoy life!
1. Get Enough Sleep
The overly tired person is a common thread on comic strips, jokes, and memes, but it’s no laughing matter. A lack of sleep limits your ability to manage your emotions, response time, and cognitive function. If your teen is sacrificing sleep for the sake of studying, texting, or netflix binging, they’ll soon find it leads them in exactly the opposite direction of progress. Sleepfoundation.org says teens need roughly 9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health benfits.
2. Incorporate More Movement in Your Day
A stagnant body is an unhappy one, and if the body is unhappy, the mind is sure to follow. Make sure your teen takes at least 20 minutes (an hour ideally) out of every day to go outside and do something. Run, jump, play, exercise. Getting the blood pumping and oxygen flowing not only relieves stress but boosts your mood to fight off stress in the future.
3. Think Happy Thoughts!
This doesn’t mean ignore the bad, but make sure your teen spends time focusing on things they enjoy, things they’re good at and that make them happy. If all they think about are the things they’re doing wrong and where they’re failing, they never get the chance to see what’s good about themselves. Negative thinking because a pattern and then a habit. But the opposite is true as well! There is real power in positive thinking.
4. Talk it Out
If your teen is stressed or overwhelmed, it’s easy for them to feel alone in their struggle. Encourage your teen to talk to you about what’s going on, or if not you, then someone they can open up to. There are various forms of therapy that help your teen express what’s weighing them down. Family therapy, group therapy, and equine therapy for teens are just some of the options. The idea of therapy can seem extreme to teens and some adults but this very common emotional aid has been proven to be incredibly beneficial.
When your kids experience blows in life, it’s important as parents to teach them how common this is. But even more importantly, we need to teach them what we’ve learned: trials and hard times pass. With a positive attitude, hard work, and sometimes – a little help – we can make it through any situation. We can learn from our struggles: our strengths, weaknesses, who we can depend on, and how we can help others overcome similar life experiences. Stressful experiences can offer many gifts if we look for them.
Tyler Jacobson is a writer, father, and husband, with experience in outreach and content writing for parenting organizations and ranches for troubled teen boys. His areas of focus include: straightforward parenting, education tactics, problems from social media, mental illnesses, detrimental addictions, and issues teenagers struggle with today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin
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