Tag Archives: peer pressure

Teen Stress

Stress is a natural feeling when something important is on the line. In such circumstances, stress can assist with focus and provide energy for the task to be done or the situation to be dealt with. With the situation resolved, the stress dies out.

But not all stress is healthy stress: stress can get out of hand. Understanding teen stress can help identify and help a teen whose stress has gotten out of control.

Causes of Teen Stress

Teen stress can come from many different areas: it depends on what contexts the child moves in and what the expectations are for him or her. Here are some causes of teen stress.

• The Changes of Adolescence—Developing faster or slower than most of one’s friends can cause tensions because the teenage years are a time when being like others and liked by others is so important. As the teen transitions and hormone changes take place, teens can be stressed by feeling out of control and losing a sense of self.

• Family Issues—Tensions between parents, separation or divorce, parental infidelity, alcoholism or drug abuse in the family, poverty, or parents who are not involved with their children’s lives may all cause stress for teens. If a child is being verbally or physically abused or is a victim on incest, stress will be only one facet of a much larger set of issues.

Another family issue that causes teen stress is parents living vicariously through their children. When children have to not only fulfill their own dreams but have all their family’s hopes resting on their shoulders, this can weigh heavily on them.

• School—For students who have difficulty in school, whether or not they have a learning disability, school can cause a lot of stress. For students who aspire to goals beyond school that depend on excellent grades may also feel very pressured.

• Social Issues—The ins and outs of friendship and dating often cause stress for teens. Hoping for acceptance, and even love, and trying to balance one’s own developing personality with other teen’s perceptions and expectations is challenging. Teens worry not only about their own problems, but about their friends’ problems, and this can cause stress. If a teen is bullied, whether in person or via cyberbullying, this is likely to cause both stress and distress. Having an argument with someone can also cause stress.

• College Applications—The whole future lies open before the teen graduating high school, but so does the task of persuading a college to help the teen get there. This is a critical activity, and one for which many teens feel unprepared. The long waiting period for replies causes stress for both teens and their parents.

• Transition—All the transitions of adolescence can cause stress. From making the transition to high school to learning to drive to holding down one’s first job to—in many cases—sharing a room with a stranger when starting college and dealing with the increased responsibility to moving to a different city or town to the pile of responsibilities that fall on a teen’s shoulders when they turn 18 even the normal, expected transitions of adolescence can cause teen stress.

• Fear—Living in a neighborhood with a high crime rate or a drug problem, or living in a generally safe neighborhood, but having been mugged or robbed can cause fear, and fear causes stress.

• Sorrow—The loss of a loved person or a pet can lead to both grief and stress.

• Responsibility—Having to care for others when one is still growing up oneself can cause stress. This can result from caring for younger siblings, a disabled or substance abusing parent, or a failing grandparent.

Signs and Symptoms of Teen Stress

People young and old react differently to stress. Some get physical symptoms like diarrhea and tension headaches, while others show it in their mood, growing snappy or withdrawn or angry. Teens may develop healthy coping strategies on their own or need help to direct their activities when they feel stress. For example, temporary avoidance of something that is stressful could be taking a break from a difficult problem set in math to shift focus. Long-term avoidance may lead to failing to hand in the assignment on time. Even though the same strategy is employed, in the first case it is useful, but in the second, detrimental.

Other signs of teen stress include withdrawal; crying; picking fights; loss of focus and diminishing accomplishment;, change in eating or sleeping patterns, particularly loss of appetite and disturbed sleep; moodiness or anger. Extreme stress can lead to thoughts of suicide.

Help for Teen Stress

The first level of help for teen stress is simply having a way to express what is going on. This means both having language to name the feelings and having a safe place to vent one’s feelings. The first can be gained most easily from parents who discuss their feelings openly, telling their children when they feel stressed and, as appropriate why, and what they do about it. The second can be provided by a parent, sibling, friend, mentor, or even a journal or diary that the teens knows is a private place for reflection.

Certain activities may help relieve stress. Playing a sport can help, but so can other physical activities that one can do alone, like practicing a tennis serve, or just throwing a ball against a wall. Distraction can also help, whether playing a video game or something else that requires concentration, like chess.

Sometimes professional help is needed. This may start with the child’s pediatrician or school guidance counselor. For stress issues that are not responding, a therapist may be the next step.

Source

Confronting Teen Stresshttp://www.jhsph.edu/adolescenthealth/_includes/Teen_Stress_Guide.pdf

Peer Pressure

Teenage Peer Pressure

For teenagers, it can seem very important to “fit in.” Teens are very concerned about their images, and they are worried about what others think about them. As a result, peer pressure is very influential in many teens’ lives. Peer pressure is basically the influence that people your age have on you. For teenagers, it is the influence that other teens have on their behavior, dress, attitude and practices. Often, teenagers do what others are doing so that they can fit in – or at least not stand out. Teens like to do what their friends are doing, and be accepted. This peer pressure, though, can lead to undesirable behaviors.

Statistics on peer pressure

There are some startling statistics about peer pressure, and what teenagers feel pressured to do. This pressure may be fairly straightforward, with some teens pressuring others to take part in certain activities. In some cases, though, peer pressure is a little more subtle, with clues given to teens that they won’t be “cool” if they don’t participate, even without the overt pressure to do what everyone else is doing. Here are some statistics about peer pressure:

  • The Adolescent Substance Abuse Knowledge Base reports that right around 30% if teens are offered drugs in middle school and high school.
  • According to the National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 74.3% of high school students have tried alcohol.
  • 3.1 million teenagers smoke, according to the American Lung Association.
  • The Kaiser Foundation reports that about 50% of teenagers feel pressured with regard to sex in relationships. 

You can see that the peer pressure is on to engage in behaviors that may not be healthy, physically or emotionally, for your teenager. While some teens choose some behaviors when they are ready, many feel rushed into decisions that they are not quite ready to make. Many end up overwhelmed by the consequences of their efforts to fit in with their peer group. It is vitally important that you help your teenager develop the self confidence to withstand peer pressure, and make his or her own decisions.

How parents can combat peer pressure

There is always going to be a certain amount of bowing to peer pressure. Teens naturally want to project the “right” image. However, you can reduce the influence that peer pressure has on your teenagers by making the following moves:

  • Open lines of communication: It is vital that you be understanding and approachable. Teenagers are afraid to come to those who are judgmental or who will subject them to ridicule. Establish a practice of speaking with your child regularly, and listening. Sometimes, your child just needs to feel that you are listening.
  • Have clear expectations: Start when your children are young to have clear expectations for their behavior. Talk to your kids and teens about different subjects of interest. Health and Human Services reports that 59.8% of teenagers that talk with their parents about the dangers of substance use (including alcohol) are more likely to abuse such substances.
  • Know their friends: Get to know your teen’s friends. You should also try to get to know your friends’ parents. Try to make your home an inviting place for your children to bring their friends, so that you can keep an eye on them. Be there for your teen to talk to, and discuss activities that their friends may be involved in, and their inappropriateness if necessary.
  • Be involved: Show your teen that you care. Attend after school activities and sporting events. Listen to them talk about their lives. Show that you are interested in what they are doing. Take time to be together as a family. Teenagers who are involved with their families and have good support systems are less likely to succumb to peer pressure.
  • Talk about the issues: Talk about what is going on with others your kids’ ages. Talk about issues including teen drug use, alcohol, sex and other items. Talk about issues ranging from what’s going on with academics and local politics to how to make better decisions. This can facilitate conversations and help you make clear your expectations.
  • Pick your battles: Understand that some things are less important than others. Letting your teen wear all black or listen to the latest music is less of an issue in many cases. If your teen is not showing deviant behavior, and continues to do well in school, what he or she wears or listens to may not be worth an argument. Your teen will be more willing to listen to you when it really matters if you avoid nit-picking when it doesn’t. 

In the end, you need to encourage your teen to choose good friends who will be supportive of them. And you need to help your teenagers withstand peer pressure by providing a safe support system.