Identifying the Stressors that May Put Teens at Risk

Stress! As adults, we struggle with stress and we can feel it weighing us down. Our physical health and mental wellbeing also bear the negative impact of stress. Now, imagine your teen being faced with his own stressors. If stress is a problem for us adults, think how much the negative impact will be for a teen who is barely equipped with the emotional and mental maturity to deal cope with stress.

And your teen does face stress on a daily basis. If he feels too overwhelmed by his situation, and if he feels that he has no place to turn, your teen may respond by acting up and exhibit behavioral problems. As a result, you may find yourself considering a teen wilderness program.

They say that the best way to deal with problems is to nip it in the bud. It can be helpful for parents to understanding what their teen are going through and provide them with the support they need so that the teen can successfully cope with the stresses he faces. This may very well save you and your teen a lot of heartache down the line.

And for those who are already faced with behavioral issues from a troubled teen, knowing the possible stressors can indicate how you can guide your child to deal with or steer clear of possible triggers. It can also signal the need to enroll your child into a troubled teen program.

Here are some potential stressors to look out for:

–          Unstable and troubled family life. Stress can come to a teen who has to deal with his parents’ constant fighting or divorce (and the subsequent aftermath of a divorce). The emotional toll of feeling torn between two parents, the guilt that he had somehow had something to do with his parents’ fights and the changes that may come can be quite heavy for a teen. If the parents divorce, this may also mean having to go back and forth two households, leaving a familiar environment, as well as being faced with the prospect of his parents’ remarriage.

–          School. School can be a warzone fraught with emotional landmines. Or at least, it can seem that way to a teen. Aside from the academic pressures, the demands of school may include juggling extra-curricular activities and a social life. School is where the teen may feel the most need to fit in with peers, making him susceptible to bullying or to going with the wrong crowd.

–          Academics. At this point, a teen may not just be worried about his current studies, but with his future college education as well. He may feel the strain of sending applications for universities, along with the worries of waiting to see whether he has made the cut with his chosen university. This can be aggravated if the child goes through his studies while he is suffering from an undiagnosed learning disability and has been struggling with this problem even at the grade school or high school level.

–          Body issues. Puberty hits hard. Pimples, body odor, hair growth, bodily changes, hormones that wreak havoc with the emotions – these can be a considerable source of stress. The pressure to fit in with society’s norms of the ideal body size can further exacerbate this. This, in turn, may lead to eating problems.

–          Size of the family. A large family may make your teen feel ignored. With the demands of siblings, parents may be hard put to meet all the needs of a teen who feels isolated. Sibling rivalry and fighting can also be a cause for stress.

–          Abuse. The trauma of being a victim of physical or emotional abuse can leave a teen with scars that may manifest itself in rebellious behavior or depression. A teen may feel so out of control that he may indulge in reckless or self-harming behavior, to the point of considering suicide.

Aside from these, obesity or eating disorders, chronic illness and living in unsafe conditions are also powerful sources of stress.

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