…And what to do about it
As parents of teens, my husband and I often chuckle a bit at the many ways teenagers are pretty much the same as when we were kids.
We may have pined after Guess jeans or Esprit bags instead of Lululemon yoga pants or Nike socks, but our kids remind us of our younger selves all the time.
But……in many ways this is a whole new world for teens these days.
Does your teen feel stressed all the time?
Are they having trouble falling asleep?
Are they getting a lot of headaches, migraines, or stomachaches?
Then they are likely having anxiety!
Here are 3 of the top reasons your teens are more stressed than we were at that age:
1. The massive stress of social media and the pressure to be perfect.
When we were young, if we had a rough day with friends, we could come home and escape it for the rest of the day.
Now, teens really never get away from all the friend drama because of constant connection with their phones and devices. Even the video games are connected.
Get in a fight with your best friend?
Now it’s all over SnapChat by the time you get home from school. Then there’s a constant barrage of comments, and side-taking…..
And, they won’t log out because they suffer from major FOMO….Fear of Missing Out.
Additionally, many studies are showing that constant screen time is creating more depression and moodiness in kids and teens (and even adults,) and it’s creating a mess of emotions.
2. Sports aren’t just for fun anymore
It used to be the norm for athletes to play multiple sports, and have fun doing them all.
Now, the kids are being pushed to pick a sport as young as 8, and then devote massive amounts of time to it for years.
Not only are we seeing more major injuries due to repetitive stress, but kids are burning out before they even finish high school. Let’s not even get into the financial cost of sports these days!
Ironically, many college coaches say they look most for the multi-sport, well-rounded athletes, for precisely the reason they don’t want the injuries or burn-out.
All-together, sports have often become more of a stressor than a stress-reliever.
3. They aren’t getting enough sleep of down-time
This ties back into 1. and 2. a lot. Between the crazy sports schedules, hours spent on social media, and crazy-intense course loads, kids are not getting enough sleep, and they definitely aren’t getting time to just do nothing and let their minds rest.
I see high school kids who are doing course loads that are harder than my college classes at CU. My son’s 9th and 10th grade honors English classes were reading materials I had in my 12th grade AP English class. They often have multiple honors classes.
Then, they go to their sports practices after school, usually every day for school teams, with events on the weekends.
After that, kids are staying up til midnight to get all their homework done. They are getting 6-7 hours of sleep a night instead of the 8-9 hours they really need.
Yes, you read that right……teenagers need 8-9 hours of sleep/night.
Their brains are still growing, and so are their bodies. They need more sleep than we do, and are often getting less.
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All these things are mixing together to create some super-stressed teens who are truly suffering from anxiety.
Some things you can do to help your teen with anxiety:
- Create screen-time limits
- Help them go to sleep earlier
- Get really honest about whether a sport of high-level class is worth all the anxiety in the long-run
- Make time each week with your teen to let them talk….a coffee date on the way to school, or dinner out, just you two.
- Look into acupuncture and craniosacral therapy to help manage an overloaded nervous system.
Acupuncture and craniosacral therapy are both excellent ways to help calm and reset our nervous system. Usually after just a few treatments, kids feel much calmer, and get relief from many of the symptoms of anxiety, from headaches and stomach aches, to irregular periods and insomnia.
Let us know how we can help, or what questions you have. There is help for your anxious and stressed out teen!