While childhood may seem like fun and games, today’s teens are under more pressure than ever before. It’s a tough time to be a parent and a tough time to be a kid. The digital age has added numerous, unhealthy amounts of pressure to your teenager’s life – not to mention the usual stresses of just being a teen.

It may not be easy to see at first, but try putting yourself in your child’s shoes. With the digital spotlight always shining on your teen, so comes the constant pressure. The judgment your teen feels in the classroom or at the mall doubles once they go online. All of this pressure and unhealthy attention can lead to build up stress. If your teen doesn’t have a safe way to release that stress, they may act out, cause problems at school, become defiant, or turn to drugs, alcohol, or unhealthy relationships.

While you can’t control how your teen feels, you can help them relieve their stress in a constructive rather than destructive manner, with the three P’s of stress relief.

Physical activity
Time and time again, exercise continues to show phenomenal results in the mental health field. Research shows that like antidepressants, exercise directly impacts neurotransmitters in the brain, helping teenagers cope with depression and relearn positive behaviors. The endorphins released during any physical activity — whether it be competitive sports, riding a bike or yoga — directly influence your mood. Additionally, offering to engage in physical activity with your teen can not only help with your own stresses, but also present a unique bonding opportunity while contributing to physical health.

Stress is brought about when pressures turn expectations into the fear of failure. But during our roughest hardships, when it feels like you’re carrying the world upon your back, it’s best to know you don’t have to carry it alone. If nothing else, God is always there to listen and lighten your burdens.

Believing there is no one to talk to makes stress all the harder to bear. Teenagers begin to wrestle with this notion when budding feelings of independence clash with the need to be nurtured and believed in. Talking to God about their life changes and asking for guidance lessens the tangled knots of stress while strengthening your teen’s faith. When they feel weak and alone, prayer can help heal your child’s heart, mind and spirit. Praying with your teen can also be a powerful time to reconnect to one another, and get to know your child on a deeper, more meaningful level.

Some of the most stressful moments in our lives come from the unfamiliar. Feeling unstable and untrained in certain situations makes us feel powerless and afraid. Luckily, the best way to remedy this kind of stress can build confidence as much as it maintains it: practice.

Practicing anything, even if it’s not directly related to the stressor, can help. Drawing, strumming the guitar or writing a poem are all hobbies that double as a practiced skills. Repetitive practice creates a ritual of self-fulfillment and serenity. It grounds us in reality, but it also lets us positively build and improve skills on the outside and feelings within. The confidence gained from personal betterment can help maintain stress in the long-term by teaching your teenager that they can succeed.

The Three P’s of Stress Relief can help you and your teenager diffuse the building tension of life in your lives. Stress is a normal part of every life, but managing that stress is crucial to maintaining a healthy, happy home. Through practice, prayer and physical activity, we can help ease the rising tide of teenage pressures one wave at a time.