Teens have their own sources of worry and stress that are just as significant to them as our stressors are to us. The pressures of learning something new every day in school, grades, being over-scheduled or under scheduled, peers and friends, and anything that is happening in their family is happening to them as well. Without the capabilities of handling each of these issues, your teen will become stressed. Your first job as a parent of a teen with this issue is to recognize the signs of stress in them.
Here are the signs of stress in teens that parents can look for:
Changes in Behavior
Your teen may act out and misbehave. Talking back, skipping school, taking drugs and being an overall brat is another sign your teen is stressed out and can’t handle what life is throwing at them. While this is a reason for stress and can underline the bad behaviors, it does not condone the misbehavior. Never allow yourself or your teen to use stress as an excuse for their poor behavior.
Your teen may have problems with socializing and their peers when they are stressed out. Teens that are always stressed may find that friends don’t want to be around them, They don’t want to be around their friends or they change their friends to a peer group that is known for trouble. Then, your teen will find themselves isolated, without peer support.
Your teen may engage in negative talk when they are stressed. Always down on themselves and others. Nothing is good, they find fault with everything. This is a hard sign to deal with, but not a hard sign to see when you are looking for the reasons why your teen is having problems.
Your teen’s grades may fall when they are stressed. The fact that is harder to concentrate when you are stressed out makes it close to impossible to keep up a good grade point average. This will lend itself to more stress, creating a cycle that is hard to break.
Changes in Health
Your teen may have problems sleeping when they are stressed. Not being able to get to sleep at night, waking in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep is a sign of stress. Or your teen may want to sleep all of the time and have issues with fatigue.
Your teen may get sick more often when stress is a problem. Stress wears a body down physically. Those that are having problems with worry and stress are not getting enough sleep and not taking care of themselves. Therefore, they end up catching viruses and getting sick.
Your teen may suffer from headaches or stomachaches when they are stressed. They come without warning, sometimes at night. One girl who had problems with stress at the teen home where I worked, had stomachaches each night before falling asleep. She would go to bed, get up thirty minutes later with a stomachache. We quickly realized after talking with her about it, that she would go to bed and everything she was stressed about during that day would come flooding into your thoughts. Unable to handle the issues, her stomach would get nervous and begin to hurt. Her doctor was able to give her some relief from the symptom.
Your teen may experience changes in eating habits. Comfort food is called that because it comforts you and takes away a bit of your stress. If your teen is eating way too much, or hardly at all, this is a sign of stress.
Changes in Mood
Your teen may have problems concentrating and lose their motivation when they are stressed. They simply cannot get their mind off of the thing that is stressing them out and whatever they are supposed to be concentrating on is not keeping their attention.
Your teen may become irritable and moody. Lack of sleep, not achieving their goals and feeling lousy will all lend themselves to an irritable moody teenager.
Your teen may show signs of restlessness or anxiety. Unable to sit still, unable to stop talking, wringing their hands, are all signs of anxiety and restlessness. It is normal to see these signs if your teen is nervous about a test or performance they are going to be doing, but if you see it all of the time it is a sign of unmanaged stress.
Being able to make out the signs of stress when your teen is experiencing them will help you help your teen more quickly and successfully. It is important to have these symptoms checked out by your family doctor as leaving them unchecked can lead to other even more serious complications and health issues.