Parenting Class

This Month’s Parenting Class: Helping Your Teen Deal with Stress

The pre-teen and teenage years are filled with high levels of emotions. Family life combined with pressure of school, can often bring on overwhelming feelings of stress and anxiety in our children.

Unhealthy levels of stress can cause both emotional and physical effects. Long-term stress can lead to physical symptoms of loss of sleep, physical pain, and even a weakened immune system. Emotionally and mentally, stress can lead to emotional breakdowns, outbursts, and relational disconnect.

As parents, we need to help our teen physically, emotionally and spiritually deal correctly with stress. Giving your child the right tools to deal with stress during their teenage years will help when they are on their own at college and later in life.

Here are some tools to help your child deal with stress in effective and healthy ways.

1. Physical activity and exercise are one of the most effective ways to relieve stress. Even if your child is not an athlete or a physically active person, the key is to get their body moving and doing something other than sitting. Taking a walk together or a bike ride, will also give you a chance to talk together while they also get moving.

1. Sleep and rest is another physical tool to help your teen be able to deal with stress but also let go of some areas that are stressing them. While often sleep may be something that suffers due to stress, working to get your child to relax and rest will help them to feel less stressed. If your teen is struggling to physically relax and rest, encourage them to engage in their spiritual life through a solid devotional and prayer time before bed.

3. Eating right and cutting back on sugar and caffeine are another physical way of changing the feelings of anxiousness and stress. Teens, thanks to popular energy drinks and coffee chains, are consuming more caffeine than ever before. The constant ups and downs of the caffeine and sugar levels in their still-developing bodies can cause elevated feelings of anxiousness.

4. Dealing with stress on an emotional level can be handled simply by being able to talk it out. Making yourself available to your teens so they have can verbally let it out, can provide a release valve of growing tension and pressure. Know that sometimes it’s not as much about having the answers to the problem as much as it’s just being a listening ear. Allowing your teen to talk will give you the opportunity to empower your child to figure it out on their own.

5. Finally, as believers, we have the ultimate toolbox of God’s word for dealing with stress and anxieties. Often stress in our teen’s life comes because they believe wrongly that it is all on them to deal with whatever the stressor might be. We, however, know and can share this simple verse with your child, encouraging them to memorize it or write it down somewhere where it can be a reminder.

Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This verse can also become a prayer you pray with and over our teen during those times of stress.

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