Growing up is hard, we all know that. Teens today face more stress and pressure then many of us did at the age. Part of that is our society and the other part is the demands we as parents put on our kids. This means that we need to make sure that we are doing all we can to make sure they are equipped with the tools they need to cope with the stress. Though I often say that it is best to start building a good relationship with them when they are young… it can be done when they are teens. It just may require a little more work and you may be met with a little more resistance. However, teens that have a good relationship with their parents are better able to cope with the stress of being a teenager in the 21st century.
Tip 1: Make Sure you are Available to Talk
Talking to a teenager… yes, this can be tough because they don’t always want to talk to you. This doesn’t mean that you don’t try, and that you don’t let them know you are there for them to talk to. I remember when I was younger that my parents always said that I could talk to them about anything. I also remember my mother going in her bedroom and screaming into a pillow after a few conversations… so I learned not to talk to her about certain topics.
You may not like what you are going to hear. But listen to them without interruption… and try not to scream in a pillow when they can hear or see you.
Tip 2: Show Your Teen Healthy Escapes
When your child was little telling them to color or bang on the pots and pans was a great way to let them de-stress. That probably won’t work with your teen. However there are many options you can give them to help them deal with stress. Encourage them to keep a journal, listen to music that makes them feel better, meditate, exercise something that is good for them and will make them feel better. For me it used to be going out to the garage and hitting the punching bag while listening to loud music.
Tip 3: Get your Teen Laughing
It has been shown that laughing can help reduce stress just as much as exercise can. Keep humorous things in your house such as comic books or books. Allow for get-to-gethers with family and friends. Show your teen how to laugh at his own actions by laughing at your own actions. This can be a great way for him to deal with many emotions as well as stress.
Tip 4: Help by Building Confidence
You can do this by praising things that your teen does around the house such as chores. Okay, so your child may look at you like you have lost your marbles for that one, but deep down inside it has made them feel better. We all like to feel appreciated, and when we feel as though we have made a positive impact with someone that we are close to… we feel better. Stronger and ready to conquer the worl. Make it routine to find something each day to give him praise for.
Tip 5: Show your Teen that Keeping Things in Perspective is Good
This plays a very important role in relieving stress. Have him look at the situation from a different point of view. Your teen will have an easier time letting go of certain things if he learns how to do this. Flunking a test is not the end of the world. A fight with a friend does not mean the friendship is over, even though it may feel that way. It is important that you teach them how to see the big picture but at the same time acknowledge how they feel over the small picture.
Tip 6: Teach your Teen to Reduce Stress by Focusing on Positive Things in a Situation
To every dark cloud there is a silver lining. While we can’t always see this lining, we have to look for it. I am a firm believer in the fact that if you learn something from a situation, whatever that situation is, then it is not a bad situation. Learning allows for growth, and by growing teens become productive and well adjusted life. My dad used to tell me “Adversity build character, so suck it up.” While I don’t say that same thing to my kids… I do share that sentiment with them. What you are going through will only make you a stronger person tomorrow.
Tip 7: Look out for roadblocks that are negative.
If a teen is unsure of how to deal with stress, then they may turn to drugs and alcohol. Try to look out for warning signs and always try to talk to your teen without being too pushy with him.