One of the most prevalent times for stress to arise in one’s life is in the teenage years. This time involves a lot of changes that can be stressful for many. So what is getting a teenager really stressed out?
At the earlier end, many kids are going through puberty and through their awkward years. This is the point in time when bullying can be the worst, as teens start to become a bit more grown-up, but not fully, and still make poor decisions by picking on people.
The stresses at this age vary greatly from person to person, but one of the most prevalent ones is bullying and harassment. By this age, many people are still kind of awkward, but they’re at the point where they are getting interested in people of the opposite sex.
This involves some kind of identity changes that can lead to some inner conflicts. While children tend to harass those of the opposite sex, teenagers start to feel to be attracted, and while some are showing their change in attitude, others might be teasing them for that.
As the attraction grows, teenagers tend to want to impress acquaintances of the opposite sex. This can mean showing the best side of themselves, maybe even showing off a facade that is not their true self, or others trying to impress by doing risky things they would not do if nobody was watching.
All of those is mixed with the quest of defining his own identity and self-worth. Some are stressed out and devastated when getting rejected from somebody else, especially being rejected from somebody of the opposite sex. Teenagers want to be accepted by their colleagues and have a desire to belong to a group that values them in some way.
The teenage years involve a lot of changes that can be stressful. As a child, many decisions are being made for you. A teenager is exactly at the phase where he starts making lots of the decisions for himself, without having the prior experience on how to deal with this new reality in a proper way. Many times they do not want to rely on others in their decision making, in order to show their growing independence, but are still struggling to keep up with the stress of being responsible of the consequences of doing a right or a wrong choice.
Another problem, especially towards the later years of high school, is figuring out what they want to do with their lives. Often, teens are pressured about what they want to do for the rest of their lives, as if they have to have it all figured out by age 18.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. They’re expected to make decisions about where they want to go to college, if they want to go at all, and if so, what they will major in. For many people, this is a stressful process of applications and trying to figure out what their passion is.
It’s certainly a lot to take in, and if they don’t have the right guidance, they’ll feel overwhelmed quickly. Finally, towards the tail end of this age group, you have the people who are in college.
College comes with a ton of stress factors that aren’t well known to everyone. In college, you have a lot more independence than you do in high school, but that comes with its fair share of drawbacks.
Students are often left out to dry by the university and their professors, who both assume the student is capable of doing everything on their own. They might find it hard to adjust, and with the realization that they’ll soon be working a full-time job, many can begin to panic from the get-go.
Teens and young adults don’t show their stress very clearly, so it can be hard to pick up on it. Many don’t want people to worry about them too much, so they just suppress their stress and worries and just hope things go well.
Some will just try to act as though everything is fine, until one day they just kind of break down. Some show that they’re stressed out by secluding themselves from others, so as to not show off their problems to others.
You might notice that someone is spending a lot more time on their own, being reclusive by going home as soon as they get the chance to just be alone. This isn’t always a sign of stress, because some people are just naturally introverted.
But if someone is normally social and suddenly starts wanting to be on their own all the time, there’s clearly something wrong there. You also might want to watch their eating habits, since some people will either eat much more or a lot less when they’re stressed out.
This can lead to undesired weight fluctuations that can cause even more stress. Moving up into college, some students try to alleviate their stress by partying. Many students will resort to heavy drinking for the sake of getting the negative thoughts out of their head.
By using alcohol as a coping mechanism, they put themselves at risk to develop alcoholism. Some will even start using drugs, which can put them at risk of an overdose, addiction, and getting arrested.
No one solution will work for everyone’s problems, but there are common ways that you can go about trying to help people in this age range. As a rule of thumb, you should never, ever try to come at them aggressively to try to fix their problems for them with already predefined solutions.
Teenagers do not appreciate this kind of intervention. They’ll just deny anything’s wrong and seclude themselves further from you. You should always try to get them to open up a bit, and then casually move it towards thinking about solutions.
When it comes to teens, your first step should be to teach them to handle the situation as best as they can on their own. If that fails to work, then you might intervene yourself, instead of trying to get administrators or teachers involved, because they’ll feel really embarrassed if the teachers have to step in for a school bully problem – and it may make matters worse.
You need them to feel as if they can trust you as a parent, because if they don’t, they’ll never open up to you fully. Make it a point for them to know first and foremost they you have their back and support them fully, no matter what.
Then, you’ll have a much better shot at getting them to open up to you. When it comes to young adults, getting them to go to a counselor might be a good option. Many universities and high schools give free counseling, and sometimes just blowing off a good amount of steam can fix a lot of problems.
If the resource is there, why not take advantage of it? And there may be even other reference figures in the life of a teenager, whom they can trust and can serve them as a counselor. Be sure to explain to them that bottling up their emotions isn’t a good way to go about anything in life, and by just getting things off of their chest, they’ll find a lot more support and they’ll feel a lot better not having to brace against it on their own. Nothing creates additional stress quite like loneliness.
As a conclusion, there are quite a bit of stressors involved in the various changes taking place in a teenage life. Much of this can be mitigated if they know they have somebody they can trust and that will support them in their journey of finding their independence. Showing them acceptance and strengthening their feeling of self-worth can also go a long way to make this transition period less stressful. Avoid to be in a conflict course and give proper support to the teenagers in your life and you will see how grateful they are that you have made a difference in their lives when they needed it most.
Do you need a guide to help you understand how to cope with Stress in an all inclusive approach? Learn how to combat stress, mentally, physically, emotionally and strategically in your life.
Martin Neumann was trained for Lifestyle Interventions in 1998 at Wildwood Lifestyle Center & Hospital. Since then he has lectured in different parts of the world about a healthy lifestyle and natural remedies. He is the founder of the Abundant Health website.