Why are our teenagers more stressed than ever before, and what can we do to help them?

Do you ever wonder if your agitated or depressed teenager may genuinely be suffering from teen depression? Unhappiness is a common feeling among teenagers. And it’s simple to understand why teens’ moods fluctuate like a pendulum when hormone turmoil is added to the numerous other changes taking place in their lives. However, research indicates that teen depression affects one in every eight teens.

In recent times, teens have reported more cases of depression and higher levels of stress than adults. Why is there a steady increase in teen distress, when the period of adolescence (as developmental scientists have discovered) is not inherently characterized by “storm and stress?”. When adolescence is not necessarily marked by “storm and stress,” as developmental experts have revealed, why is there a constant rise in teen distress? This phase of depression and anxiety is not a mental illness besides it’s a sign of transformation.

What is the Central Cause?

Social media is often held responsible for teen stress. Does anything connect? On the one hand, it is undeniably true that teenagers spend hours each day looking at devices, just like the rest of us. Furthermore, teenagers are particularly sensitive to the social comparisons that come from viewing highly edited, idealised bodies and lifestyles online. Also, teenagers are more exposed to the outside world than younger kids. Puberty brings about neurological changes that cause kids to focus on things other than their immediate family, and these changes also improve their ability to think abstractly and sophisticatedly about important matters. Teenagers are exposed to an increasing amount of stress as a result of absorbing more and more of the outside world. And lessons on current social events are used in high schools to support this broadening perspective. Teenagers, however, lack prior experience and limited coping mechanisms for this increased degree of exposure.

What can we Do to Help Them?

Parents, guardians and teens themselves should dig deep into the matter. Teen stress is normal, however, it is necessary to cope with it and create a difference. Hence the following might be helpful:

Ask and Keep Asking

Start by locating a peaceful, secluded moment for communication. Since having to deal with two parents at once could overwhelm your child or foster a hostile environment, it might be helpful to tackle the matter alone. Ask basic yet significant questions like:

  • “Can you share what’s bothering you?”
  • “What’s making you feel this way?”
  • “How are you doing lately?”

It is simpler to get your child the appropriate support if you ask them about having depressing thoughts. It’s very reasonable to be terrified and to want to take them right away to a mental health specialist. However, getting them to start communicating can help you get a better understanding of what’s happening.

Be a Good Listener

The first part of healthy communication is listening. Be a good listener. Make sure they feel heard when they do begin to open up. People with depression can feel as though they are a burden to their loved ones. That implies that they might see a perfectly logical, “Just 5 minutes!” as a denial and be reluctant to “bother” you once more. Take a minute to explain if you are unable to cease what you are doing. I want to focus entirely on you, but I have to attend to this first. I’ll be finished in approximately 45 minutes, after which I can give you my whole attention. That’s how healthy conversation should work and would definitely work with your teen.

Get Support

While your kindness and direction can greatly benefit your child, getting professional help is usually the most effective method to reduce symptoms. If they initially object to the notion of therapy, discussing it with a school counsellor, a family paediatrician, or a beloved teacher may help them. When other reliable adults encourage kids to reach out, they can be more open to considering therapy. Explain that a therapist will listen to their ideas, offer support without passing judgement, and help them explore methods to begin feeling better if they appear concerned about being admitted to the hospital or made to take medicine.

Make Positive Changes as a Family

Lifestyle changes can have a lot of benefits for depression symptoms. Incorporating lifestyle changes in your family life – dedicated bedtimes, more physical activity, healthy balanced diet etc, can improve the well-being of everyone without singling them out. New routines can also lengthen family time, which will make your teen feel more connected and supported.

Encourage Supportive Relationships

Even when they are struggling, your teen can still feel socially connected by keeping up with essential friendships. Think about temporarily relaxing your regular social rules. You might make certain exceptions if you typically don’t allow sleepovers or late hangouts on school nights, for instance, until their symptoms are better.
It’s also good to encourage them to take out a new sport, art class, or interest, like taking guitar lessons. Helping out neighbours and other deeds of kindness, such as volunteering, may also lessen depressive symptoms.

Bottom Line

Whatever the cause of adolescent stress, it falls to parents, educators, and mentors to help teens move through it. Developmental Science, practical sense and even traditional wisdom can all help. You know your child, so you probably know when something’s not right. Have a conversation with them about seeking help for their depression if they consistently appear depressed or agitated. Above all, don’t forget to stress your support for them and your willingness to go to any lengths to win their trust. Although they might dismiss you, they are still listening, and what you say might have an impact on them and their well-being.

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