Is your Teen Suffering from Stress? Here’s How to Recognize and Manage it.

It may be difficult for parents to understand that their teen is feeling the impact of stress or the fact that it should even exist at all. However, a 2013 Stress in America Survey concluded that American teens have reported experiences with stress that follows similar patterns to those of adults.

What’s more interesting is the American Psychological Association (APA) revealed that stress levels among teens are much higher than what is considered healthy. In a 2018 study, information from the National Survey of Mental Health indicated that rates of anxiety and depression had increased in kids between ages 6 to 17 from 5.4 percent in 2003 to 8.4 percent in 2011-12.

If it’s not properly diagnosed, prolonged stress and even chronic stress may cause various physical – even mental health problems – and is one of the contributing factors to obesity, heart disease, anxiety and depression, which are becoming more common among teens. Additionally, an article on, states that “adolescence is a stressful time for many kids and that “stress in teens has been linked to withdrawal, aggression, risky behavior, and substance abuse.”

Although it may seem that stress can potentially lead to troubled teen behavior (and various troubled teen program, troubled teen services, and online program for teens are available for further research), there are steps parents can take to recognize and manage their teen’s stress.

Causes of Stress among Teens

But what does a teen have to worry and be stressed out about? It’s an apparent concern and in the same 2013 survey, 83 percent of teens reported that school is a “somewhat or significant source of stress” while 10 percent indicated that receiving lowers grades was due to stress. Further, a 2018 APA survey revealed that teens of Generation Z (between the ages of 15 to 21) felt significant stress around reports in the news, which includes gun violence and school shootings, rising suicide rates, climate change, treatment of immigrants and even sexual harassment.  It’s also interesting to learn that many teens stress about fitting in, their first romantic relationships, as well as peer pressure concerning substance use and sex.

Recognizing Stress

According to the APA, there are many signs of recognizing stress and here are a few characteristics that are common among teens:

  • Irritability and anger
  • Changes in behavior
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Eating changes (either too much or too little)
  • Frequent Illness

How Parents Can Curb the Effects of Stress

Once recognized, the APA also explains there are many ways for teens to manage stress including:

  • Sleeping well: It’s recommended to encourage teens to have eight to 10 hours of sleep every night.
  • Start exercising: This is a great stress reliever and The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests having at least 60 minutes a day of activity.
  • Discuss the cause of stress: Discussing stressful situations with your teen helps can help them put their worrisome problems in perspective and even find solutions.
  • Enjoy the outdoors: Spending time among Mother Nature is another effective way to alleviate stress. Researchers reveal that those who enjoy more ‘green space’ have less depression, anxiety and stress.

Although there are many additional signs of stress and many more methods of relieving it, this is just a starting point to assist your teen in the event they are experiencing stress and to prevent further problems overall.

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