We live in a world that is full of stressors. As adults, we might think that we are the only ones dealing with stress, after all, we’re the ones paying bills, keeping a roof over everyone’s heads, putting food on the table, dealing with health issues, etc. The reality is that kids today are dealing with more stress than ever before. In fact, recent studies show that adolescents and young adults are five times more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and depression than people in the same age range that lived during the Great Depression. Often times, the stressors that we mentioned adults struggling with fall on the shoulders of our students. Add peer pressure, juggling school and a job, relationships, breakups, possibly being a teen parent, and so on and it’s no wonder they are ready to crack.
Since stress can take a toll (both mentally and physically), the best thing to do is teach your teen how to proactively deal with stressful situations. Model what it looks like to effectively manage stress. Make sure you encourage your child to get enough sleep and have healthy eating habits. When a person is well rested and in good health, they tend to react better to stressful situations that arise than someone who is sleep deprived.
Another way to help your child learn how to deal with stressful situations is by remaining calm. If you are going crazy, screaming, overreacting, or acting like the world is coming to an end, your child will learn to do the same. Remember, you are your child’s first teacher and that goes for every phase of life. They learn how to react to situations from watching and observing you. Give them something good to emulate. If you are aware that there is something approaching that might give them stress, talk about it beforehand and give them time to prepare for what is coming up.
Lastly, help your child avoid stress by making sure their schedule isn’t overly full. It’s normal for a teen to have a part-time job, go to school, and be involved in an extracurricular or two but having too much on their plate can set them up for a downward spiral and lots of weight on their shoulders. Make sure they still have time to complete homework and fit in some time for fun things, like hanging out with friends or family. Having a good balance of obligations and free time is crucial for their mental health.
You can only plan for so much and stress is bound to creep its way into your child’s life, so make sure you take time to help your teen learn how to deal with it. Signs that your teen is dealing with a higher than usual stress level include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Upset stomach
- Lack of joy in things that used to make them happy
- Feelings of chest tightness
If your teen starts to exhibit any of the above symptoms, try to get them to relax by doing a quiet, calm activity like reading a book or listening to music. Exercise and meditation can also calm their nerves. If you feel that your tween or teen needs professional help to deal with their stress, please seek the help of a medical professional. Sometimes having someone neutral to talk to is very beneficial.
If you have a child that is in grades 5-12 and would benefit from learning in an environment that takes away many of the stressors of traditional school check us out. At My Virtual Academy, we help students that are struggling to graduate, want to graduate early, want more time to complete assignments, are teen parents, victims of bullying, etc. They earn the credits they need to graduate with their high school diploma and set themselves up for a bright future. Take a moment to visit our website to learn more about how virtual learning is changing students lives. We also have Enrollment Specialists standing by to talk about our program and answer any questions you may have. You can call them at 800-297-2119. We can’t wait to hear from you!