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Teen Stress

Teenage years can be a time of extreme stress. In this article we will review causes of teen stress, warning signs of teen stress, physical signs of teen stress, mental signs of teen stress, emotional signs of teen stress, and solutions for teen stress management.


All of us, both young and old experience stress at certain times in our life. It's how much stress we encounter and how we deal with the stress that can determine whether or not it's a problem.

Stress, otherwise known in more medical terms as the "flight or fight" response, increases our heartbeats, speeds our metabolism and heightens our awareness. A little bit of this stress can be good for us, keeping us in tune with our surroundings. If these stressors last for long periods of time, they can keep us in a constant state of tension. They begin to wear on us physically, mentally and emotionally.

Causes of teen stress

It really depends on each individual what they consider to be stressful. What may be stressful for one teen, may not bother another teen at all. For this reason, it is well advised to keep in tune with your individual child's feelings about different things. Stressors can come from both internal and external sources, some of which are listed below.

  • Family problems (divorce, death in family, new sibling, financial problems)
  • Moving to a new school
  • Difficulty in school (learning difficulties, too much homework, tests)
  • Friends (lack of friends, shyness, fights with friends, acceptance/rejection, peer pressure, boyfriend/girlfriend problems)
  • Overload (too many extra-curricular activities combined with school work, jobs, etc)
  • Illness
  • Physical changes in body
  • Lack of sleep
  • Deciding one's future (college planning, job planning)
  • Overachieving (trying to be perfect in many areas)
  • High expectations (setting goals too high can come from both parents and the individual themselves)

Warning signs of teen stress

Signs of teen stress can come in many forms. Every teen will experience some signs at different times, but when they last for longer periods of time it can tend to create further problems. Signs of stress can be physical, mental or emotional.

Physical signs of teen stress

  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Muscle aches
  • Nervousness
  • Eating disorders (over eating, under eating)
  • Sleeping disorders (insomnia, nightmares)

Mental signs of teen stress 

  • Forgetfulness
  • Unorganized
  • Lack of concentration
  • Drop in grades

Emotional signs of teen stress 

  • Anger quickly
  • Sadness
  • Impatience
  • Frustration
  • Easily Agitated
  • Violent

Solutions for teen stress management

Now that we are aware of the causes and signs of teen stress, what can we do as parents to help alleviate it? Most stress can be dissipated by some simple everyday methods. If stress has overrun their lives it's best to seek further professional help for them. 

  • Talking - Talk to your child about what's bothering them. Talking and working out one's problems with somebody else will help reduce built up tension. Encourage them to talk to their friends or other adults as well.
  • Take time out to relax - Have them find some activities that they enjoy doing such as reading a book or listening to music. 
  • Exercise and eat healthy - Exercise (non-competitive) can help reduce built up muscle tension among other things. Eating properly along with good exercise can keep their bodies healthy and prepared to deal with the stress. Avoid too much caffeine as this increases anxiety.
  • Be prepared/organized - Don't allow them to wait until the last minute to do assignments or study for a test. Feeling prepared and ready for things can reduce lots of built up stress. Have them create a daily schedule to follow to keep them more organized.
  • Learn relaxation techniques - Breathing exercises, meditation and muscle relaxation are great techniques for alleviating physical and mental tension.

The teenage years are an especially stressful period of our lives. So much is changing around us which we are forced to deal with all at once. Whether intentional or not, we as parents might be putting too much pressure on our children as well. Regardless of the cause, it's important to get down to the root of the problem before it gets out of control. If left untreated, stress can lead to further problems down the road which may be harder to deal with. Teens may turn to drug or alcohol abuse to alleviate their stress. They can become depressed or suffer other types of anxiety disorders. As parents, we can and should help them before it gets out of hand.


1. focusas.com
2. familyeducation.com
3. teen-matters.com
4. lifepositive.com

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