Is Your Teen Stressed? 10 Signs Your Teen Is Stressed & How To Help Them Cope
Stress is becoming more and more common these days. Whether you’re an adult or a teen, stress is something that is experienced by all. Let’s be honest, as a parent, you might think “what does my teen have to stress about?”
True, they don’t have to worry about financial stress, job stress, or even relationship stress (much) and while I agree that adult stress might be higher and significant than teen stress, it’s no less serious.
But here’s the deal; stress doesn’t care if you’re an adult or a teen and the anxiety that follows doesn’t care about the bills you need to make or the deadline you need to meet. When a human being, regardless of their age or sex, experiences stress, our nervous system responds the same.
What you experience as an adult is similar to what your teen might experience. And it is as real as your stress too. Our hormones and neurotransmitters are responsible for our stress reaction, regardless of our age or situation.
In this article, I’ll help you understand some common signs of stress in teenagers, how stress affects teenagers, and how you can help your teen cope with stress.
Signs Of Stress
Stress can manifest in different ways; emotional, physical, mental, and behavioral. Stress can affect almost every aspect of our lives as well including academics, relationships, work, social, and even financial.
Let’s start by understanding some of the common signs of stress:
- Emotional Signs: Being agitated, being anxious or depressed, being irritable, negative self-talk, over worrying
- Physical Signs: Headaches, stomachaches, muscle or joint aches
- Mental Signs: Poor concentration, forgetfulness, being careless
- Behavioral Signs: Changes in appetite, trouble sleeping, avoiding daily activities, change in social habits
These are some of the common signs of stress that adults and teenagers may experience. While all of us experience different kinds of stress, there are some triggers that you may want to know about that may be common. Causes of teenage stress include:
- Academic Stress
- Social Stress
- Family Disagreements
- Traumatic Events
- Major Life Changes
Now that you’re aware of the common signs of stress and their triggers, let’s move on to understand the signs of teenage stress.
Signs Your Teen Is Stressed
Here are some common signs your teen is stressed:
1. Physical Aches
Headaches and stomach aches are one of the first signs of stress. If your teen is complaining of frequent headaches or stomach aches, then do not ignore them. These and other somatic concerns are signs of stress.
2. Sleep Troubles
One of the most common ways stress manifests itself is in sleep patterns. Sleep is very important when it comes to maintaining good mental health. If your teen is overtired and sleeps deprived, they will face trouble managing stress. If your teen is sleeping in more than usual or spends their weekend sleeping, they may be struggling with stress.
Make sure your teen makes sleep their priority too. At least 8-10 hours of sleep is required of a teenager. Help them reduce their screen time before bed and avoid keeping digital devices in their room.
3. Academic Problems
Stress not always manifests as sleep issues or overwhelming emotions, sometimes it can manifest in academic performance too. If your teen’s academic performance has declined or if their teachers are complaining about their lack of attendance, then it can be stress driving their behavior.
As parents and teachers, you can help your teen cope with their stress by having an open and honest conversation with them and helping them figure out what is the cause of their poor performance.
5. Being Irritable
Teens are notorious for being surly and moody but a stressed-out teen will show signs of irritability more than usual. If your teen becomes frustrated over minor inconveniences and is frequently overwhelmed by their emotions, it’s another sign of stress that you should not ignore. Here, you can suggest talking about their feelings or writing in a journal to help cope with their stress.
6. Changes In Social Habits
Stress can affect your teen’s social habits too. If your teen prefers being socially isolated to being with their friends and peers, then it can also be a sign of stress in teens. Spending time in their room or not showing interest in activities that they previously enjoyed can mean your teen is struggling with stress.
Here, you can encourage your teen to talk and open up about their struggles with you. You can also encourage them to go outside more even if it’s to just explore nature.
7. Being Sick
As I previously said, physical illness is also a sign of stress. If your teen is frequently struggling with the common cold and other illnesses, then it can be a sure sign of stress. Here, you can help your teen maintain a steady sleep schedule or encourage them to eat healthily and exercise regularly.
8. Negative Behaviors
Behavior patterns are also something that should be considered when it comes to teenage stress. When a teen is stressed, it’s more likely that they may skip school or talk back at you. Yes, it’s a normal reaction to changing hormones but sometimes, negative behavior can be a sign of stress.
As parents and teachers, you can encourage your teen to talk about their feelings or engage in activities where they can direct their negative energy to do something productive.
9. Poor Concentration
When a teen is stressed, they find concentrating on simple tasks hard. It’s easy for them to get distracted if they’re struggling with stress. Poor concentration can also affect a teenager’s academic performance. As a parent or a teacher, you can teach them mindfulness activities to help them stay focused and in the present moment.
10. Negative Self-Talk
Another sign of stress in a teenager is negative self-talk or the use of negative language when talking about themselves. If you hear your teen say phrases like, “No one cares about me” “Am I a burden?”, it’s a sign of stress. While it’s normal for teens to say phrases like these, if they say them quite regularly then it should be taken seriously.
Here, you can help them switch their negative phrases to positive ones or teach them how to use positive self-talk.
Stress in teenagers often manifests as overthinking or over worrying. If your teen is constantly worried about the things that either have happened or are yet to happen, it’s a sign of stress. Here, you can help them by suggesting they write down their worries in a journal. Writing about thoughts in a journal can help understand the cause of the overwhelming emotions.
[Also Read: Anxiety And Panic Disorders In Teens]
Seeking Professional Help
Many teens (if ever) come up and say that they are stressed. Sometimes, parents and teachers also dismiss the idea of teenage stress as nothing serious which is the wrong move. If a teen comes up and says they are stressed, listen to them.
If they don’t say it but you notice the signs of stress in your teen, talk to them. You can also teach them basic and simple stress management techniques.
If your teen’s stress is interfering with their academic performance, household chores, or social interactions, then you should consider taking professional help from a trained counselor or therapist. A therapist can help your teen understand their signs and triggers, and help them cope using healthy coping strategies.
You can connect with a therapist for your teen here.
[Also Read: Teen Counseling Review]
As parents, teachers, and caregivers, you can help your teen cope with stress by modeling healthy coping behavior as well. Stress is one of the main reasons why we develop anxiety and related mental health issues. By keeping balanced mental and emotional health, we (as well as teenagers) can keep stress at bay.
I hope this article helped you understand some common signs of teenage stress and how you can help your teen cope with them. If you’d like to connect with a professional, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on social media.
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