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HELPING TEENAGERS WITH STRESS
No. 66 (Updated FEB-27-2011)

Stress can affect anyone from children to adults. In between this age gap are the adolescents or teenagers. The cause of teenage stress is different from adult stress but the symptoms remain the same. Due to the difference of teen stress from adult stress, a different approach in tackling their stress is important.

The total population consists of an estimation of 20% teens. Yet teens are sometimes that neglected group of the population. Teenage or adolescent is the intermediate group between dependent childhood to independent adulthood and this transition is never easy. The teenage group is very vulnerable to physical and emotional stress.

Their stress may come from everywhere around them from their families, peers to their education. They may be compelled to follow the footsteps of an elder sibling to avoid comparison from their parents, or teens can be stressed from determining their role and image to the society.

Molding And Stress

The teenage or adolescent stage of life can cause major changes both in the physical and mental aspect of a person. These changes are significant in molding and shaping a person.

Physical changes in a person during adolescence include; increase in weight and height, change in voice, the development of secondary sexual characteristics, and for girls the menarche or the beginning of menstruation. On the other hand mental changes may involve; attraction towards the opposite sex, the feeling of independence, aggressiveness, experimentation.

All of these changes can cause stress to teenagers. It was surveyed that one third of teenagers undergo at least one episode of stress every week. The stress factor or stressors are different for teens and it may be due to; puberty, peer pressure, school demands, safety issues within the community, family responsibilities, negative feelings or thoughts, divorce or separation of parents, holidays, financial problems, or a death of a loved one.

The fact is that teenage girls are more affected or prone to stress than boys. Teenage girls tends to seek help from others for help with their stress while boys  respond to stress by dealing with it alone and refuse help from others or by engaging themselves in activities that would help them focus on things other than the stressor.

The family members and friends are usually both the cause and support for teens. Without proper guidance, teenagers use healthy and unhealthy ways to cope with their stress.

Tackling Teenage Stress

Teenage stress can be handled both inside and outside of house. The first step in tackling teenage stress is to identify what caused their stress. The notion that there is no earthly reason for teenage stress should be avoided.

The teens should be allows to talk freely about their problems and they should be supported. Older people around them should help and teach the teens by teaching them stress relief methods and setting realistic goals for them in both curricular and extra curricular activities.

Parents or teachers must ask the teenager to define stress taking an example of an incident and ask them for their natural response to that stressful event. Advice about normal stress response and ways of tackling stress must be explained to the teens. Teach them that different stress can have different responses to different persons. Also, advise the teens to avoid unhealthy methods of relieving stress like aggression, alcohol or drug use.

During the time that a teenager feel stressed, full support must be given by the people around them. Teenagers, like children and some adults, are not ready to face major problems by themselves.
#4 The Depressed Child
#47 The Anxious Child
#24 When to Seek Help.
See also: Your Child (1998 Harper Collins)/Your Adolescent (1999 Harper Collins)


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