Stressed-Out Teenagers

I remember one day when I was a teenager and complaining about how stressed out I was to my mother and brother, and my brother said sharply, “That’s stupid!  You’re too young to be stressed.”  That’s the last time I mentioned my feeling stressed out while in high school.  But as I interact with more and more teenagers today, it seems to me that way too many teenagers today are living with an unhealthy amount of stress.

This morning I came across an article on the New York Times’ website by Lisa Belkin entitled, “Helping our Children With Stress.”  It’s a great article, I strongly encourage every parent to read it (especially if you think your child/teen is NOT stressed… then you definitely need to read it).  Belkin points to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) recent report entitled Stress in America and writes the following:

“The study, released earlier this week, found that a third of the 1,206 children in the survey (ranging in age from 8 to 17) reported feeling more stress than they had a year ago.Nearly half are worried about school, while only a third of their parents thought their children saw school as a problem. Thirty percent are worried about family finances; just 18 percent of parents think that’s on their kids’ list of stressors. Twenty-nine percent of teens report worrying about what comes after high school — getting into a good college or finding work — but only 5 percent of the parents of teenagers think that is causing stress for their children.

In fact, stress is quite literally making children sick in ways that haven’t registered with their parents. According to the study:

  • Tweens (30 percent) and teens (42 percent) say they get headaches vs. 13 percent of parents
  • Tweens (39 percent) and teens (49 percent) cite difficulty sleeping vs. 13 percent of parents
  • Tweens (27 percent) and teens (39 percent) report eating too much or too little vs. 8 percent of parents”

Is your son or daughter stressed about school?  Probably, especially if he or she is a Junior or Senior!

The APA has provided the following guide for parents to know how to help their kids deal with stress in a healthy way.  Please read and print out this guide.  Here are some of the main points, but let this only whet your appetite, read the guide linked to below.

Talking with Your Children About Stress

  1. Be Available
  2. Listen Actively
  3. Respond Thoughtfully
  4. Consider
  5. Seek Additional Help

Parents, this is a great opportunity for you to take initiative in discipling your son or daughter.  Teach him/her that being a Christian doesn’t make stress non-existent, but that our faith in Jesus Christ overcomes our stress.

““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.””  (Matthew 11:28–30)

2 thoughts on “Stressed-Out Teenagers

  1. Lauren Cope December 1, 2009 / 6:05 pm

    Good article. I think too often we undervalue sleep requirements. I read something in a bike training book that gave a instructions on determining how much sleep one needs. Go to bed at the same time every night and don’t set an alarm for the morning. On the fourth morning of waking on your own, count the hours you slept that night, and that is the amount you need each night. Haven’t done it yet, but after I do I think I will get the kids to do it. It could provide very practical information, especially for school nights.

  2. ebccrosswalk December 2, 2009 / 11:54 am

    Lauren, I couldn’t agree more about how undervalued sleep is… especially for teenagers! Personally, I see it most on Sunday mornings at 9:30 when Sunday School’s supposed to begin and half the youth look like they’re sleep walking.

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