If you have a middle schooler or teenager, you have seen the stress incurred at these ages. Responsibility increases whether it be at school or home. Peer pressure affects them whether it be in a positive or negative way. They may struggle with making friends, competing in sports, and just finding their way as they deal with physical changes in their body. Some children tolerate and adapt to these changes better than others. Add a divorce of parents, death in family, or any other traumatic event , some kids do not cope well.
Signs and symptoms of a stressed out teen include being angry or irritable, loss of sleep or too much sleep, change in grades at school, unwillingness to be cooperative. Many complain of stomachaches or frequent headaches, fatigue, nightmares, or even depression.
LISTEN to your teen!! Many kids may not understand what they are dealing with is stress. They just understand that they may be angry, annoyed, confused, worried. Talk with them and teach them how to deal with their stress in a positive manner. More than anything, just be there to listen. Sometimes they just need to be able to vent in a safe, nonjudgmental environment.
Your child may be overscheduled!! If it is possible, eliminate activities to allow child some down time. It is okay if they don’t play every sport, or maybe they don’t need to be on a travel team.
Teach them to detach from their cell phone for a while!! Turn it off for half an hour. They will survive without it;). Remove cell phone from bedroom at night to lessen chance of being awakened by a friend who decided to text at 2 in the morning.
Teach your teen to take time to relax. Music is a great therapy. Allow them 20-30min to chill out and listen to some music and take some deep breaths. Cognitive therapy and biofeedback may also be great options if home techniques have failed. Last resort, your primary provider may choose to try medication for the anxiety so they child may cope better. No treatment or therapy will completely help unless you address the reason for the stress!!