Causes of Teenage Stress
With changing times and the desire to keep up with the rest of world in terms of material possessions, we tend to put a fair amount of pressure on our children to perform. Therefore it is no doubt that our children are as vulnerable to stress as we are. The causes of stress among teenagers are, however, different from the factors that cause stress in adults.
Some common causes of stress among teenagers are described below:
- Puberty – A large number of teenagers experience stress simply due to the fact that they are undergoing puberty. Physical changes like zits, development of breasts, first signs of facial hair and other internal hormonal changes bring with them feelings of unease.
- Parental expectations – This is probably the most common and overbearing cause of stress. The high expectations that parents have from their offspring is sometimes based on the desire that the children should achieve what the parents could not. However, parents do more harm to their children by making such desires explicit. And this is especially true of the teenager is not inclined towards what the parent wants him/her to do or does not have the capability to do so.
- Peer pressure – Often the clash between the expectations of parents and the peer group causes stress. When the actions that are required to please parents and those that are likely to result in acceptance by peers end up being at loggerheads with each other, stress is bound to be the result.
- Academic pressure – While we may feel that our children are less concerned about grades than they should be the fact of the matter is that many teenagers worry about their grades at school and get too worried at times about the results. This is irrespective of the actually grades that a teenager generally gets. Some extremely bright teenagers worry about their grades more than teenagers who actually should be concerned about flunking.
- Relationship with the opposite sex – As the teenagers discover their sexuality and start getting attracted towards the opposite sex, unrealized love or being branded as a certain type of girl or boy can be extremely stressful.
- Physical appearance – During teenage, physical appearance seems to matter much more than it does at a later age. Teenagers worry about whether they are too fat or too thin, the scar on their arm and even about whether the tattoo that they got looks trendy enough or not
Teenage is the age when young people are caught midway between childhood and adulthood. On one side is the desire to break free while on the other is the feeling that they may not be completely capable of taking all their decisions on their own.
The effects of the stress
If you believe that only adults have problems and experience stress then you are completely wrong. The effects stress has on teens is as much as it is on adults. Stress in teenagers is also more dangerous than it is in adults. This is mainly because of the fact that teenage is a stage where there is very little or no understanding of how to manage stress.
All teenagers are likely to experience stress at some point in their lives. The stress may come from family, school grades, getting a summer job or even getting the drivers license. Broken relationships, especially those with the other sex, questions about who they are and how they fit in, acceptance by peer group, changes in puberty or simply stress from frequent boredom are also some of the prime sources of stress in teens.
A stressful situation at home is very likely to spill over and affect a teenager’s academic performance at school. Many students report family tensions between parents as a major cause of a fall in school grades. Conversely, demands made at school and stress over school grades may affect a teenager’s life at home.
Stress has numerous effects on teenagers and as a parent you should be on the look out for signs of teen stress so as to be better prepared to help your child in finding a solution.
- Sudden drop in school grades
- Excessive sadness
- Frequent crying without any obvious reason
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Inability to find interest in fun activities
- General fatigue
- Inability to concentrate in studies
- Mood swings or temper tantrums
Some studies reveal that stress in adolescence can negatively affect the cardiovascular health of otherwise healthy teenagers. Left unattended teen stress can potentially lead to anxiety disorders, teen depression or drug abuse, which may require professional help.
The reality is that high stress is a bigger threat to teenagers than frequent boredom and spending money. If teenagers are not tutored how to cope with stress it can have dangerous consequences that include alcoholism and drug abuse.
As a responsible parent it is incumbent on you to monitor your teen’s behavioral patterns. Any change that has negative connotations should be a cause of concern and should be addressed. However, you need not be unduly alarmed as most teens are receptive and will listen to you if you are not too judgmental about the problems that they are going through. You need to engage the child and be sensitive to his/her feelings and try to help in finding solutions. It is always better that you only provide backend support and let your teen find a solution himself/herself.