In Anxiety, Depression, Stress

Recognising Signs of Stress in Your Teen

All teens experience stress to some degree, however it’s important to recognise when stress is having a negative effect on their daily life as it may start to interfere with their learning, relationships, health and other areas of functioning. Symptoms of stress may be:

  • Emotional changes – your teen may be more agitated, anxious and/or depressed.
  • Physical changes – stress can cause frequent illness, frequent headaches, changes in weight and general appearance. Ensure to keep an eye on your teen’s health.
  • Behavioural changes – look for changes in eating or sleeping habits, and avoidance of normal daily activities.
  • Cognitive changes – you might notice decreased concentration, forgetfulness, and/or the appearance of carelessness. This is often not your teen being lazy or disrespectful, this may be sign of exhaustion or high levels of stress.

Causes of Stress in Teens and Children

Academic Stress

From their assessments, assignments, and studying, all of a teenager’s academic time is spent in preparation for testing and applying for universities or colleges, and ensuring they are achieving the highest test scores they can. Poor time management or feeling overwhelmed by their workload can cause academic stress.

Social Stress

Teens place a high value on their social life and spend the majority of their waking hours with their peers, developing social skills, and interacting with people, places, or situations that they haven’t experienced before. However, there can also be stress caused by these social interactions. Bullying, peer pressure, early romantic relationships, and relational aggression all cause additional stress to teens during their developmental years.

Family Discord

Stress trickles down and anything that affects a child’s family and normal daily life can impact them. This can include their parent’s marital problems, difficult sibling relationships, illness in the family, and financial difficulties.

Traumatic Events

Death of a family member or friend, accidents, injuries, sickness, or enduring abuse can have a lasting impact on teens stress levels.

Significant Life Changes

Like adults, teens experience stress due to significant life changes. Moving home, area, or school, changes in the makeup of the family (blended families, arrival of new family member, or family member leaving) can trigger stress for a teen, and can be confusing and overwhelming if they don’t know how to cope with the big changes.

7 Study Tips to avaiod Exam Stress for Young People

  1. Stay organised with to-do lists, study timetables, and due dates.
  2. Take regular breaks and leave your desk.
  3. Have a dedicated study space where you won’t be distracted.
  4. Have a long-term goal, i.e. a desired grade for this exam/subject.
  5. Get as much sleep as possible.
  6. Remember to eat well and stay active, overall health is important in managing stress.
  7. Talk to the people around you, they can help you alleviate stress, and may give you study advice.

7 Tips for Parents/Carers During School Exam Time

  1. Give children time off from chores and non-urgent family requirements during the busy exam period.
  2. Encourage them to keep doing some of the activities they did before exams.
  3. Help them set up a study space and make sure the rest of the family understands that this space is a personal study area, and not to be disturbed.
  4. Chat with them about what they want to do after exams.
  5. Remind them to go to bed at a regular time each night.
  6. Go on study break walks with them and try to help them with wholesome meals.
  7. Make a time to chat to them and let them vent about what may be causing them stress.
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