The adult world is full of situations and events that cause stress. For teens, these stressful events might look different: parents’ divorce, peer pressure, school responsibilities, illness or situations with relationships. Even positive events can create a degree of stress.
The ability to evaluate stress levels and to develop coping skills increases for teens as they grow older and wiser. Often, it is not the situation that causes all the stress; it is the perception and belief about the situation.
It is important to distinguish daily life hurdles from significant stress. Parents and teens often experience daily challenges that can cause stress. Teens usually learn strategies to effectively cope with these small hassles. It is the significant stressors, such as the death of a family member or friend or a serious illness that will cause adolescents to be unable to cope. These events, when not dealt with, can result in serious consequences for the teen’s physical and emotional wellbeing.
While life’s everyday stressors have less negative impact than any single traumatic event, the cumulative effect can be just as detrimental. Perception of stress is often related to experiences and development. What is stressful for one person may not even amount to a small issue for another.
Every teen’s response to stress will be different. Some will have mood swings while others will take part in attention seeking behavior, avoid certain activities, isolate themselves, refuse to go to school, fail to prepare for class assignments and / or have physical complaints like headaches and stomach aches.
So what can parents do?