Stress and teenagers… yes they do have issues that cause a great deal of stress!
Our contemporary society presents many circumstances that encourage stress for teenagers.
A chief potential stressor is right in the home: parents.
That is not to say that parents cause teen stress. Teens are also self-responsible individuals.
That is the key to some of the sources of teen stress. Many times a teen is given too much freedom and sometimes in some other areas they are granted too little.
When a developing person is set adrift in society among a variety of choices, this is a near guarantee for stress.
That reaction comes from the result of a perceived and unresolved conflict between I must and I can’t.
In a lot of cases, it is simply that a teenager can’t.
No one could expect a fourteen year-old to be able to negotiate the maze of challenges that the modern world has to offer without the benefit of good guidance.
Few teens at that age are equipped by either nature or parents to do so.
For example, one is not born knowing how to raise babies, earn money or deal with adult life. That knowledge is rarely attained by the age of fourteen.
Teens are not children. They have a certain amount of self-awareness, have a complex value system and have some knowledge of the world around them.
They are beginning to become independent in exercising their powers. If that independence is stifled, the opportunities to solve problems are stunted.
The results of both of these false alternatives, that is, the independence of being left alone to one’s own devices and the lack of independence in not being allowed to make their own choices and deal with the consequence will invariably lead to stress.
The former leaves the teenager in a position of having to solve problems that they are just not ready to solve.
The latter makes it very hard for them to gain or expand their ability to solve them.
Teens will usually recognize this when they complain to parents you never let me have my way or I’m old enough to make my own decisions.
Some parents insist on making the decisions for their teen and other parents make the mistake of throwing all caution to the wind and letting their teenager sink or swim.
These seem to be two extremes that a parent can get caught up in. It is better to take a middle of the road approach.
Knowing when to do one or the other is the challenge that every parent faces.
However, teenagers can save themselves from a lot of needless stress by trying to help their parents and themselves out of a dilemma.
Teenagers are not children but neither are they adults.
They can, however, improve their situation by demonstrating the first and emulating the second. Reaching for responsibility is a very effective way to minimize stress before it builds.
Responsibility can often lead to stress when it is met with resentment or fear rather than with persistence and confidence.
It can also help build the skills that are needed to head off stress before it grows. When the responsibilities are such that the teen is able to handle, the result is confidence building.
One of the surest ways to decrease the stress that comes from having to deal with stubborn parents or the fear of failure is to successfully tackle the challenges of home responsibilities, school and other hurdles.
Sometimes it may mean starting over after an initial failure.
Teens will gain practical knowledge not only from undertaking the challenge but by building psychological strength from making the attempt.