Is your teen stressed about school, homework and extracurricular activities? Has the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic added to their worries? School is oftentimes a top contributor to a teen’s stress level, with assignments due, tests to study for, extracurricular activities, friendship problems, and more testing their resilience. In fact, one study shows that 83% of students report school as the top cause of stress in their life. Other studies show that the amount of stress teens feel actually rivals adult stress levels. If you’re a parent or caregiver, identifying when your teen is going through a difficult time is critical. Here are some strategies you can try to help alleviate their stress.
Download this free mental health assessment to determine if your teen could benefit from a professional’s help.
Establish a Stress-Free Zone
Teens need a place to escape from the daily pressure of school and school-related activities. Giving them space to relax helps them decompress and recharge from deadlines and responsibilities. Offering them the freedom to create their own positive environment, whether this involves listening to music, going for a walk, creating art, meditating, spending time with friends, or taking a nap, can reduce the effects of stress on their body and mind.
Manage Your Own Stress
Your teen can likely feel your stress. If they notice your stress, they can feed off of it, in turn increasing their stress level. Your teen is constantly learning from you and acting according to your example. Use healthy coping mechanisms like deep breathing, physical exercise, and a good night’s sleep when you’re feeling stressed and your teen will likely do the same. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to a trusted family member, friend, doctor or religious leader. They will be able to help you just as you would help your child.
Allow Your Teen to Vent Without Judgement
Venting can be a great stress reliever as long as it doesn’t become too common. Giving your teen the freedom to vent and not punishing them for doing so can help relieve tension and stress. Then, they will be better able to think through the issues they face. Try giving teens a chance to vocalize their frustrations in a judgment-free environment. Journaling, whether with pen and paper or on a computer, is another safe way that teens can give voice to their challenges and work through feelings.
Limit Extracurricular Activities
Sometimes, teens just have a bit too much on their plates. Academic pressures can be easier to manage if they don’t have an overabundance of extracurricular activities. If your teen seems tired too often, is underperforming grade-wise or seems uncharacteristically sad or disinterested, you may want to consider limiting outside activities. Encourage your teen to relax and take some time for themselves. It’ll give them a reprieve from the constant demands of their lives.
Seek Help from a Counselor or Mental Health Professional
Talking to a counselor is a great option if school stress is affecting your child’s ability to cope with day-to-day life. It takes a village to raise a child and it’s always okay to ask for help and support. If your teen is stressed, complete this free mental health assessment with your child to learn if they would benefit from speaking with a mental health professional. Please note: The information contained in this assessment should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of a mental health professional.
About KVC Nebraska
KVC Nebraska is a private, nonprofit organization that provides foster care, home-based support for people with disabilities, intensive family prevention, in-home behavioral healthcare, and educational support for families. Learn more about our in-home mental health services here.