It has been widely reported in the media that adolescent stress is on the increase. This is backed by statistics reflected by Beyond Blue who quotes figures like: one in six young Australians aged between 16 – 24 years, has experienced an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months. This is approximately 440 000 young people. Beyond Blue goes further by suggesting that adolescents are most concerned about coping with stress, school or study problems and body image.
We know that adolescents who experience frequent stress are morel likely to be sad or depressed, and they perform worse in school. We also know that we don’t have to be complacent and accept this. We as parents can be proactive, smart and hands on in addressing this scourge.
So what can you as a parent or caregiver do to help your adolescent feel less overwhelmed, less anxious and more in control?
Primarily, adolescents need to learn skills that can help them manage their stress as well as other challenges they face in their daily life, effectively. This is about the school of life. Teaching skills such as mindfulness, meditation, breathing techniques and more, can help your adolescent, not only today, but for the future. We as parents and caregivers need to assure our adolescents that despite the up and down nature of life, and the challenges that are being faced, they can bounce back. We can teach resilience and reinforce it daily. We can instill in our adolescents that they can learn from situations that are challenging, and this can help them get stronger and wiser. We as parents can also teach our adolescents that it is OK to fail. It is not the end of the world to make a mistake. What matters most is effort and persistence. It is the story of the tortoise and the hare – one step at a time. Enjoy the journey and not focus only on the destination.