For teens, there are many moments that can feel stressful or overwhelming, all while they’re trying to learn more about themselves and fit in with others. In some cases, that stress might even become unhealthy. Here are some of those moments when you can be an extra support system for your teen.
A Friend is Upset With Them
For teens, friendships can often mean the world to them. As a result, when a close friend—or even a peer—is upset with them, it can be extremely stressful. Even more, many teens haven’t encountered serious conflict before, which means it’s likely they don’t have the tools necessary to navigate someone else’s anger. But you can support your teen by helping them work through this problem in a constructive way. It can be as simple as lending an ear so that your teen can express their frustration to a nonjudgmental party. You can also talk through the issue with your teen so that they can resolve the situation on their own.
Another relationship “first” your teen might experience is their first romance and subsequently, first breakup. No matter how long or serious the relationship was, first-time heartbreaks can feel insurmountable for teens. Luckily, you can be a person of comfort and support during this upsetting period. Be sure to acknowledge their feelings, and take the time to listen if your teen wants to talk. When your teen feels ready, you can help them move on by establishing a new routine (such as an extracurricular activity) and encouraging them to feel confident in who they are.
Moving or Changing Schools
Since relationships are so important to teens, they might feel particularly stressed if they have to face a move or change schools. You can be supportive by acknowledging their feelings of sadness and discomfort. When they reach a new town or school, help them engage in extracurricular activities and social events so that they can build new relationships.
If your teen is trying out for a sports team, school play or after school club, the pressure and anticipation leading up to this moment can be overwhelming. Help your teen prepare by offering to practice with them, and be sure to support them even if their tryout doesn’t go as planned. You can encourage them to try again or move forward with new goals.
Another milestone many teens will experience is getting their first job. This can be a great opportunity for a teen to develop their independence. However, it can also be nerve-wracking if they don’t know what to expect or if their job becomes too much to handle. As they’re learning, it’s important to stay involved in their first experience with work. To do this, keep track of how many hours they work weekly to ensure they aren’t overburdened. Offer tips on how to manage the additional workload; for instance, you can suggest they use a calendar to schedule study times as well as personal time so that they won’t feel too overwhelmed by their job.
Getting a Driver’s License
Receiving a driver’s license is an exciting rite of passage, but it can also be stressful for teens. First, they might feel a lot of pressure to earn their license before they feel ready. Driving lessons and tests can also be distressing. Be available to help your teen practice and talk through their concerns. Above all else, encourage them to learn at their own pace.
Many teens look forward to prom; it’s an opportunity to dress up, celebrate with friends and dance the night away. However, there can be a lot of pressure to find a date and the perfect outfit. You can help by checking your own stress at the door. If you’re worried about them drinking or partying too hard, burdening your teen with your own stress will only make theirs worse. Instead, listen to any concerns they might have and provide them with simple tips to have a safe, fun night.
Applying to College
As your teen approaches the end of high school, a significant next step in their life is college. There’s no doubt that applying to college is a daunting experience. You can support your teen by helping them conduct research, go to information sessions, study for exams and write entrance essays. Remember that this work primarily needs to be done by them, but you can still be there to assist when needed.
Feature Photo: Greyerbaby