All teenagers face stress in one form or another, but many experience stress at a level that can be compared to adult stress. Do you pay attention to whether your child is in situations that may increase stress levels?
According to a study conducted by the American Psychological Stress Association in America, stress levels in adolescents are roughly the same as in adults.
However, the results of this study show that not only do adolescents have difficulty determining that their stress levels are above normal, but they also underestimate the impact of stress on their own mental and physical health.
A little bit about teenage stress in numbers:
- In adolescence, the most common sources of stress include: 1) school (83%), 2) entering a prestigious university or the process of choosing what to do after school (69%) and 3) the financial situation in the family (65%);
- Many teenagers complain of insomnia (35%), over-eating or eating unhealthy foods (26%), and missing meals (23%) due to stress during the month;
- 40% of adolescents reported feeling irritated or angry, 35% complained of anxiety or nervousness, 36% said they were tired, and 31% reported being overwhelmed by stress during the last month;
- More than a quarter of teenagers say they avoid or drastically reduce their hours with classmates and friends because of the accumulated stress of the month. 51% of teenagers say they feel stressed at least once a month;
- Adolescents report that during the academic year, their average stress level reaches 5.8 on a scale of 10, compared to 4.6 in the summer.
Signs of stress in teenagers
All teenagers face stress, moreover, it is natural to feel a little stress. However, many young people experience severe stress, which negatively affects their studies, relationships and other areas of life. Stress can manifest itself in many ways, and sometimes its consequences can be confused with typical teenage behavior.
It is important to know what to look for when we talk about stress in adolescence:
Emotional swings: A child may seem excited, excited, and/or depressed. Pay attention to these mood changes.
Physical changes: Being stressed, young people are more likely to get sick, complain about headaches, toothaches, abnormal pains, and discomfort.
Changes in eating habits: note changes in eating habits and sleep patterns, behavioral changes in daily activities.
Cognitive (mental) changes: You may notice decreased concentration, forgetfulness and/or inattention.
Common causes of stress in teenagers
Teenagers are different and stress can be caused by various factors. A study in the Americas shows that at this age, some common causes of stress can be identified.
The best way to understand how your teenager is experiencing stress and what the reason for this stress is to establish an open relationship and start a trusting dialogue with the child. It is important for the parent to make it clear to the teenager that stress is normal, and the adult can also share ways of coping with stress.
The stress of learning
From classroom assessments to USE scores, the stress of learning has a strong impact on a teenager’s life. Many people are worried about their academic performance, fear that they will not meet the expectations of parents and teachers, and do not want to fall behind their classmates.
Failure to allocate their time and assignments is also a source of stress in school life.
Teenagers pay a lot of attention to their social life. They spend most of their time with peers, and the process of finding and identifying themselves in the adolescent community can sometimes be associated with stressful situations.
Bullying and other aggressive behaviour are not uncommon in adolescence and are obvious sources of stress. But also to the difficult life tasks of the teenage period can be referred a clash with interpersonal conflicts, experiencing the first romantic feelings, etc.
Peer assessment and attitude is an additional source of unpleasant experiences. In an attempt to establish and maintain friendships, young people often leave their comfort zone in order to get closer to other people.
The disagreement in the family
Everything that happens to family members is reflected in a teenager’s state of mind. Unrealistic hopes, marital problems, strained relationships among siblings (including sibling bullying), illness of close relatives, and financial difficulties in the family can all dramatically increase stress levels in a teenager’s life.
Events in the world
Shootings in schools, terrorist attacks, global disasters worry parents, but can also be a source of stress for adolescents. This age category is usually immersed in the news flow, no less than their parents, if not 24 hours a day.
All the events that fall within their field of vision, in the country or in the world, make a teenager reflect on various topics, including his or her personal safety and that of his or her family.
The death of a family member or friend, accidents, illness, or prolonged emotional/physical abuse can have a strong impact on a teenager’s stress level. It is also important to note that at least 10% of adolescents experience sexual harassment on dates.
Changes in life
Like adults, teenagers are extremely sensitive to change. Moving, moving to a new school, and changes in family life (including divorce or new family members) can lead to increased stress levels among adolescents. Lacking the experience and skills to adapt to life changes, such changes can be challenging for the young person.