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13 Tips for Helping Teens with Stress: For Parents, From Parents

We’re hearing and witnessing that our teenagers are under tremendous stress. Your Teen asked parents to describe how they help their teenagers keep a healthy balance. Here are our Top 13 tips for stress management for teens—from parents.

13 Tips for Reducing Stress

1. Family time

We make family time a priority, whether it’s at dinnertime, before bedtime, spiritual services, etc.

2. Healthy diet

We try hard to promote a healthy diet at home, replacing junk food with healthy alternatives. Healthy body, healthy mind.

3. Boundaries on homework

We think it helps to set and enforce boundaries on homework time. Sometimes our teens need to spend more time on an assignment. But sometimes it’s important to take a break or call it a night.

4. Limit video games

We set limits on time spent playing video games.

5. Use a therapist

We’ve had success using a therapist for both our teens. It has been good for them to talk to someone whom they view as impartial.

6. Enforce curfews

It’s not always popular, but we set and enforce curfews.

7. Know their friends

We inquire about friendships and relationships with our daughter’s peers. This helps us understand situations our daughter might encounter.

8. Listen

We find that just listening (and not talking) is really important.

9. Offer mental health days

We give our teens one or two “mental health” days from school each year. Sometimes just the OFFER of a mental health day the night before calms them enough. It helps them get their work done and get to sleep with less worry. Also, knowing that we recognize and appreciate the amount of pressure they are under brings them comfort and alleviates some of the stress.

10. Keep a balanced schedule

Before each semester, we sit down and take an inventory of all of our teen’s activities. If her schedule seems too busy or too weighted in one area, we try to make changes that will lead to more balance.

11. Provide coffee breaks

When our teenager is feeling particularly overwhelmed, we take her for coffee or lunch and talk through what needs to be done now and what can wait.

12. Listen to relaxing music

My son listens to nature music to induce sleep. The music helps him to relax and when he is relaxed he feels more in control.

13. Relinquish control

We think it is important to allow our teens to make their own decisions about their activities outside of schoolwork and family. In our family, our teens feel more stress when they feel that we are pressuring them to take part in certain extracurricular activities. They seem to do much better when they are in control of their spare time.