One important necessity in dealing with stress is talking about it—though that’s easier said than done. But by keeping the lines of communication open, your teen will be much more likely to open up to you when he or she is feeling overwhelmed. If your pre-teen or teen is not much of a talker, try to set aside one day each week to spend with your teen. Take them out to breakfast before school, or frozen yogurt after school, or go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be much. During this time avoid speech designed to improve him or her, but instead really listen to what he or she has to share. Let your teen know you value their perspective and opinion, and make sure to affirm them through positive speech. Though your teen still may not talk a whole lot, that’s okay. If you can make this a consistent “date” with your teen, creating a safe harbor for them they know they can run to when stressed, they will open up over time.
Don’t ignore signs that your child may be struggling and experiencing unhealthy stress levels. Irritability, anger, extreme worry, sleeping issues or odd eating patterns are indicators of stress in teens. Pay attention to your teen’s behavior, and if you are concerned, consider enlisting help.
Ultimately, the best remedy for stress is trusting God. When your teen is exhibiting signs of stress, lovingly share with them that even people who believe in God will experience stress. King David was afraid at times, stating “terror is on every side” in Psalm 31:13. He was overwhelmed with sorrow and grief. Paul wrote that the remedy for affliction, worry, and stress was to trust God who promises never to leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6), and to deliver us from our enemies (2 Corinthians 1:10).
Please check out this week’s quick online video about this topic:
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