Thursday, April 24, 2014


Edmond Public Schools organized a Parent University on Tuesday to support parents in continuing their education about kids, stress, and resilience. I am re-posting this from April of last year as a review for attendees and to reach out to others.  If this post is helpful to you as a parent please share with others. Thank you for reading. Lisa

D o you think the teen slumped on your couch watching marathon Dance Mom episodes is “chilling out?”  Think again.

According to the American Psychological Association’s survey on Stress in America - your teen is probably stressed out and trying distraction to calm down-which doesn't work well. This year’s online survey which included over 2,000 teenagers (13-17) and adults (18 and older) showed an overall increase in the reported stress of our nation’s teenagers- at stress levels higher than adults. 

What are teens stressed about? 

School (89%), which included getting into a good college and what to do after high school. 

Balancing schedule (school, home, extracurricular) (59%).

Despite the reported high levels of stress over half of the teens reported a lack of confidence in their ability to manage stress, and recognize that they are not doing enough to manage it.  Many of the teenagers endorsed stress related symptoms:  Feeling irritable, tired, overwhelmed, depressed or sad, procrastinating, changed sleeping habits, concentration problems, and eating too much or skipping meals.  The teens in the highest stress group were more likely to use distraction through sedentary activities like movies, television, or surfing the internet.

How adults can help:
Good stress management habits sound exactly like a nag list- but they work.   Adults participating in the survey acknowledged poor coping strategies for managing stress, so be aware of what you are modeling.  Teenagers will notice what you do and tune out what you say, especially when there is a mismatch.

In other words this nag list is for you as well:

TALK MORE: Take time to share the pressures you are feeling with a trusted friend and/or family member.  Consider creating a list of things that are bothering you and get some feedback about developing priorities and solutions.  Holding in your emotions creates a heavy burden (and adds more stress!).

MOVE MORE:  Teens and adults report “feeling better” physically and emotionally after exercise, but few have created a practice of regular work outs.  All movement counts so be creative in finding something that you can enjoy.  Dance, run, hike, rip stick, tennis, and training for meaningful marathons are all possibilities to explore
SLEEP MORE: The average stress level for teenagers sleeping less than eight hours on a school night is 6.2 out of 10.  Taking naps and boosts of caffeine to make it through the day becomes a negative cycle that adds to perceived stress.  Create a family culture that fosters healthy sleep habit by setting a screen curfew.  Make sure you abide by the rules too!

PLAY MORE: Develop hobbies and interests beyond school and work.  Invest in classes that are just for fun, throw a Frisbee outside, visit random museums.  Use your weekends for more than errand running and chores.

BALANCE MORE: We humans need to maintain even portions of “being” and “doing.” If your teenager has over-committed help them to sort through and prioritize their schedule so it feels less intense.  Even if your student gets behind in class work- support time for rest and fun so they have the energy to shrink stress down to size.

Help encourage a well rounded life for your family.  Stress busting begins at home.

No comments:

Post a Comment