Getting Help for Your Stressed Teenager
As a parent of a stressed out teenager, you may be wondering where you can go for help or even if you should get help. Oftentimes, just being there for your teenager is enough to help them learn to deal with their stress. However, if the warning signs show that your teenager is experiencing a deliberating or depressing stress, you need to get help.
Your first step is to be watchful for the signs of stress overload. If your teenager withdraws into their own world, is aggressive, becomes ill because of stress, becomes suicidal and/or turns to drugs or alcohol, you need to get help. Doctors, counselors, teachers, and religious professionals can all play a role in helping the teenager find the needed help to get over their stress.
But sometimes the warning signs of stress are not as apparent. Here are some techniques you should use when trying to understand your teenager's level of stress.
- Be encouraging and positive, talk with them and reach out to them.
- Be aware of your own stress levels. Sometimes that is what is upping their stress.
- Be understanding and don't put their problems down.
- Support involvement in sports and other extracurricular activities to promote healthy outlets to your teen's stress.
- Seek outside help if needed. Do not make any agreement to just keep it between you and your teen. Sometimes you will find out information about your teen that is just too much for you to deal with. Make sure to get outside help if needed.
A huge part of monitoring your teenager's stress level constant communication. Listen and take your teen's problems seriously. Pay attention to what your teen is saying. Here are some techniques for listening to your teenager:
- Use active listening making sure your teen talks more than you do.
- Gather information by asking pointed questions.
- Be encouraging and positive.
- Make sure you have time to talk before you start.
- Avoid "yes" or "no" answerable questions.
- Show interest in specific things in their life.
- Reflect in your answers that you are understanding what they are communicating.
- Summarize at the end to make sure everything you have heard is clearly understood.
Using some of the tips to understand and manage teen stress in the other teen stress articles can also help you and your teenager work through it together. Remember to always monitor your teens physical and mental health. Be there for them, and listen to your teen's problems. Get help if needed. With these defenses, you can help your teenager diffuse their stress in a healthy way.
Getting Help for Your Stressed Teenager Sources:
- HelpGuide Mental Health Issues: Teen Depression: Signs, Symptoms, and Getting Help for Teenagers, [online].
- Center for Adolescent Health, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, "Confronting Teen Stress, Meeting the Challenge in Baltimore City," [pdf online].
- American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Helping Teenagers with Stress, [online].
- University of Minnesota Extension Services, Center for 4-H Youth Development, College of Education, "Teens in Distress Helping Friends in Trouble: Stress, Depression, and Suicide," [online]