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How to help children and teens manage their stress

The pandemic pushed stress to historic highs. Here are healthy ways for children and teens to cope.

How to Help Children and Teens Manage Their Stress

In the short term, stress can push a child to practice for her piano recital or inspire a teen to study when he’d rather be out with friends. But chronic stress —for example, from unrelenting pandemic-related pressures, social unrest, or violence—is different. Left unchecked, long-term stress can contribute to a long list of physical and mental health problems . Prolonged stress can cause high blood pressure, weaken the immune system, and contribute to diseases such as obesity and heart disease. It can also lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression—disorders that are becoming more common in youth.

More than two full years into the covid -19 pandemic, mental illness is at an all-time high—especially among children. In fact, between 2016 and 2020, the number of children aged 3 to 17 diagnosed with anxiety grew by 29% and those with depression by 27%, according to a study published in 2022 in JAMA Pediatrics . The findings also suggest concerning changes in child and family well-being after the onset of the covid -19 pandemic.

At the extreme end of the stress scale, nearly 270,000 children suffered tragic loss, with covid -19 claiming one or more of their caregivers .

Stress in young people doesn’t always look like stress in adults. But like adults, children and teens—even those with life-altering losses—can find healthy ways to cope. Together, young people and their parents or caregivers can learn to spot the signs of excess stress and, with the right tools, manage it.

Sources of stress in young children

For young children, tension at home is a common source of stress. Children may be troubled by family discord, divorce, or loss, for example. Even happy changes, such as a new home, the arrival of a new sibling, or a beloved new stepparent can be hard on a child.

School is another frequent source of concern for kids. Young children might be stressed about making friends, dealing with bullies, or getting along with their teachers. They might also be anxious about tests and grades.

More significant stress is also rising in this cohort. While pediatric emergency department visits declined during the pandemic, the number and proportion of mental health-related emergency department visits increased for children ages 0 to 11, compared to 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( Radhakrishnan, L., et al., Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report , Vol. 71, No. 8, 2022 ).

Sources of stress in adolescents and teens

As children get older, their sources of stress expand. Teens are more likely than young children to be stressed by events or situations outside the home.

Mental health crises are on the rise for this age group as well, with mental health-related emergency department visits increasing for kids ages 12 to 17 compared with 2019 emergency department visits. In particular, emergency departments saw increases in visits related to self-harm, drug poisonings, and eating disorders among this age group since the pandemic’s onset ( Radhakrishnan, L., et al., Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report , Vol. 71, No. 8, 2022 ).

In addition, during the 2020–2021 school year, more than 60% of college students met the criteria for at least one mental health problem, according to the Healthy Minds Study, which collects data from 373 campuses nationwide ( Lipson, S. K., et al., Journal of Affective Disorders , Vol. 306, 2022 ).

Peers can help buffer stress, but can also be a source of it. Social relationships are especially important in adolescence. Many teens worry about fitting in, their first romantic relationships, and peer pressure around substance use and sex.

Recognize the signs of stress

Signs of stress in youth can show up in a number of ways:

  • Irritability and anger: Children don’t always have the words to describe how they are feeling and sometimes tension bubbles over into a bad mood. Stressed-out kids and teens might be more short-tempered or argumentative than normal.
  • Changes in behavior: A young child who used to be a great listener is suddenly acting out. A once-active teen now doesn’t want to leave the house. Sudden changes can be a sign that stress levels are high.
  • Trouble sleeping: A child or teen might complain of feeling tired all the time, sleep more than usual, or have trouble falling asleep at night.
  • Neglecting responsibilities: If an adolescent suddenly drops the ball on homework, forgets obligations, or starts procrastinating more than usual, stress might be a factor.
  • Eating changes: Eating too much or too little can both be reactions to stress.
  • Getting sick more often: Stress often shows up as physical symptoms. Children who feel stress often report headaches or stomachaches, and might make frequent trips to the school nurse’s office.

Stress management for kids and teens

Facing stressors is a fact of life, for children and adults. These strategies can help keep stress in check:

  • Sleep well. Sleep is essential for physical and emotional well-being. Experts recommend nine to 12 hours of sleep a night for 6- to 12-year olds. Teens need eight to 10 hours a night . Sleep needs to be a priority to keep stress in check. To protect shut-eye, limit screen use at night and avoid keeping digital devices in the bedroom.
  • Exercise. Physical activity is an essential stress reliever for people of all ages. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 60 minutes a day of activity for children ages 6 to 17.
  • Talk it out. Talking about stressful situations with a trusted adult can help kids and teens put things in perspective and find solutions.
  • Make time for fun—and quiet. Just like adults, kids and teens need time to do what brings them joy, whether that’s unstructured time to play with building bricks or uninterrupted hours to practice music or art. Also, while some children thrive bouncing from one activity to the next, others need more down time. Find a healthy balance between favorite activities and free time.
  • Get outside. Spending time in nature is an effective way to relieve stress and improve overall well-being. Researchers have found that people who live in areas with more green space have less depression, anxiety, and stress .
  • Write about it. Research has found that expressing oneself in writing can help reduce mental distress and improve well-being. Some research has found, for example, that writing about positive feelings —such as the things you’re grateful for or proud of—can ease symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Learn mindfulness. In a study of a 5-week mindfulness training program for 13- to 18-year-olds, researchers found that teens who learned mindfulness experienced significantly less mental distress than teens who did not.

How parents can help

Parents and other caregivers have an important part to play, by adopting their own healthy habits and helping children and teens find stress-managing strategies. Some ways parents can take action:

  • Model healthy coping. Caregivers can talk with children about how they’ve thought about and dealt with their own stressful situations.
  • Let kids be problem-solvers . It’s natural to want to fix your child’s problems. But when parents swoop in to solve every little glitch, their children don’t have a chance to learn healthy coping skills. Let your children try to solve their low-stakes problems on their own, and they’ll gain confidence that they can deal with stressors and setbacks.
  • Promote media literacy. Today’s kids spend a lot of time online, where they can run into questionable content, cyberbullying, or the peer pressures of social media. Parents can help by teaching their children to be savvy digital consumers, and by limiting screen time.
  • Combat negative thinking . “I’m terrible at math.” “I hate my hair.” “I’ll never make the team. Why try out?” Children and teens can easily fall into the trap of negative thinking. When children use negative self-talk, though, don’t just disagree. Ask them to really think about whether what they say is true, or remind them of times they worked hard and improved. Learning to frame things positively will help them develop resilience to stress.

How psychologists can help

Psychologists are experts in helping people manage stress and establish positive mental health habits. Visit APA Division 53 (Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology ) for advice about choosing a psychologist and information about evidence-based treatments.

Thanks to psychologists Mary Alvord, PhD, and Raquel Halfond, PhD, who assisted with this article.

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American Psychiatry

Teen Stress: Biggest Triggers & 7 Ways To Cope

Teens are bound to experience some kind of stress. It’s an inevitability, and really, a fact of life. We, as humans, all experience stress. Teens are no exception to that. Unfortunately, many teenagers are left to suffer in silence on the topic. 

In fact, a study found teens’ stress levels rival that of adults. Furthermore, teens identify their stress as unhealthy. As the future of our nation, we want to take a closer spotlight look at what stresses teens nowadays. 

Let’s look at the biggest triggers teens experience. After that, we’ll also show you ways to cope as a teenager.

Common Triggers of Teen Stress

In 2017, the American Psychological Association released a Stress in America survey . After compiling data, they conclusively found many teens struggle with stress that is on par with adults.

Teenagers understand that their stress levels are unhealthy. However, most aren’t aware of how negatively stress impacts both their mental and physical health. We’ll be looking at data from the 2017 survey to see the most common triggers.

What Stresses Teens?

  • First, a whopping 83% of teens report school as a source of stress. 
  • 69% follow up with stressing about what to do after high school or getting into a good college. 
  • An unfortunate 65% report financial concerns within their family. Since stress trickles down, it’s easy to see how teens might absorb stress from other family members.

What are the Results of Teen Stress?

  • 35% of teens report that they lie awake at night from stress. 
  • Meanwhile, 26% find themselves eating unhealthy foods or overeating. 
  • Alternatively, 23% choose to skip meals. All of these habits are a direct result of stress.

The Emotional Backlash from Teen Stress

Stress isn’t just one emotion, either. 

  • 40% of teens feel angry or irritable throughout the day just from the sheer stress of it all. 
  • 36% are either anxious or nervous and another 36% feel more fatigued than anything else. 
  • In the past month before the survey, 31% were overwhelmed by the stress.

This can have more negative consequences than they even realize.

  • For example, 26% report snapping at or being short with classmates in the month up to the survey. That’s directly from the emotions that stress made them feel. 
  • 51% of teens are told that they seem or look stressed at least once a month.

School plays a massive role, too. 

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, teens report an average stress level of 5.8 during the school year. 
  • In contrast, it’s a 4.6 during the summer months. While that’s still not as relaxed as teens could be, it’s a significant decrease from school time.

There are obviously other factors that can play into a teen’s stress levels. 

  • Maybe their expectations at home or school are too much pressure. 
  • They could have too many extracurricular activities, or not feel like they have enough time to themselves. 
  • Friendships and getting into their first relationships can also be sources of stress. 
  • Pay attention to what’s going on in your teen’s life to see if you can find the root of their stress.

This study did not even account for social media which is becoming an increasing source of stress and self-consciousness amongst teens. 

7 Signs of Stress

Be vigilant of your teenager’s emotions. You can be on the lookout for any of these signs that they’re feeling particularly high levels of stress.

Trouble Sleeping

Maybe you wake up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and notice they’re still awake. Or, they come to you in the morning and tell you they couldn’t sleep or went to bed later than they usually do.

Anger and Other Negative Emotions

They could look panicky, down, depressed, disassociative, unengaged, or even just tired. These are all signs of stress.

Getting Sick

Perhaps they mention headaches, stomachaches, or being tired all the time. Have they been communicating their stress to you this whole time? Pay attention to how often they mention something so you can stay on the lookout for a pattern.

Neglecting Responsibilities

Are they having trouble concentrating? Losing focus at home or school can be an easy sign of stress. They’re not too young to experience emotional exhaustion, so keep an eye out.

Maybe you got a call that they’ve been skipping school or even certain classes. It’s time to find out why.

Changes in Behavior

Another sign of stress is that they could just not be being themselves lately. Have they seemed different? Any different behavior should be noted.

Eating Changes

They could also not be eating well. This includes overeating, eating unhealthily, or skipping meals. Make sure their diet hasn’t become irregular. 

But, how do you resolve a teen’s stress? You can’t just take them out of school. They have to receive an education. Likewise, you can’t magically start hiding all outside stress to ensure they absorb none. 

7 Ways to Help Teens Cope with Stress

Unfortunately, there’s not a one-solution-fits-all kind of answer to this. On the bright side, we’ve got quite a few different ways to help. Let’s look through our list of ways to help your teen cope with stress. These methods would help reduce stress in anyone, but we’ve tailored them to teenagers for this guide.

1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a mental state that is achieved by being fully in the present. While in the present, one can acknowledge and accept their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. 

Overall, it’s a therapeutic technique that’s at the beginning stages for adolescents. There’s mindfulness meditation, training, and other exercises to improve the ability to get to this mental state. 

Though they’re in the early stages of development, we do still have a clinical trial on the subject. The study “sought to establish the efficacy of a mindfulness-based group intervention for adolescents with mixed mental health disorders.”

118 teenagers between ages 13 and 18 were recruited for the trial. Each adolescent took their normal treatment, along with a 5-week mindfulness-training program.

The results saw a significant decrease in mental distress in the teenagers that went through the program. There was an even more prominent at the 3-month mark. Overall, teens that went through mindfulness training found improvement in mental health, psychological inflexibility, mindfulness, and self-esteem.

In conclusion, mindfulness and mindful awareness can help improve mental health significantly. We would recommend it for not just teenagers, but anyone who wants more mental clarity.

2. Get Journaling

When in doubt, write it out. Research has shown expressing oneself through writing can help improve wellbeing and reduce mental duress. For example, writing about positive feelings can help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.

A good exercise to try is to write what you’re proud of in yourself. Write about what you’re most grateful for. Then, write about how you’re feeling that day. 

Over time, journaling can lead to a lot of mental relief. Jotting down your thoughts with pen and paper will have more of an impact with consistency.

3. Go Outside

Sun exposure helps the brain produce serotonin — AKA one of our happy chemicals. Spending time out in nature is a proven, effective way to improve your overall wellbeing. 

The same can be said for teenagers. A great way to relieve stress is to ensure they’re getting some time outside every day. 

The best place to go is anywhere where you can be surrounded by nature. The greener, the better! Researcher shows people who live in greener places tend to have less stress, anxiety, and depression. 

4. Quality Time

Make sure you make time for both fun and quiet for your teen. Just as much as they need quality time with you, they also need alone time. What brings your teenager joy? 

Try to find a healthy balance between what they enjoy and their responsibilities. A source of stress could be that your teen is feeling unfulfilled and like they’re not getting enough time to themselves.

5. Communication

You’ve heard the age-old saying, communication is key. The same can be said for a teen stressing about any number of things. Talk it out with them! Start young so that they’ll be more likely to open up to you about the more serious things. 

Talking about stressful situations can help your teen put them into perspective. Communication might just be what they need to start feeling better about their current stress level.

6. Get Moving

Exercise is an essential stress reliever for any age. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends exercise. At least an hour a day of activity for children between ages 6 and 17 will do wonders for their stress levels. 

7. Better Sleep

Finally, sleep is an essential part of positive emotional and physical wellbeing. For teenagers, 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night is ideal. Their brains are still developing, so help ensure they’re getting the rest they need. 

One suggestion might be to help limit their screen time at night. Maybe avoid digital devices in the bedroom if your teen struggles with sleep.

We hope you found this advice to help guide stress reduction. Remember these are not one size fits all solutions and what works for some might not work for all. 

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Adolescent Psychiatry Staff

The information on this page is not intended to be a replacement for treatment, diagnosis, or professional clinical advice. We do not recommend taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger - don't use this site.  These resources  can provide you with immediate help.

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Chapter 5 Coping with Stress in Middle and Late Adolescence 1

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Childhood experiences deeply influence a young person and profoundly affect emotional and physical health later in life. It is also known that adverse childhood experiences are very common and early trauma and stress associated with this lead to predictable patterns of brain development, traits and behaviours. A study, aimed to determine the stress among adolescents and to identify their stressors was conducted among 46 adolescents who were selected through non-probability convenience sampling in a selected school of Udupi District, Karnataka. Data were obtained using demographic proforma, stress rating scale and stressor table. Data analysis showed that majority of them experience moderate stress (63.04%) whereas severe stress was reported by 23.9%. The mean stress score was highest in the interpersonal domain. Personal injury/illness, appearing for examination and failure in any subject were ranked (17.39%) as most stressful events. These results suggest that adolescents experience considerable stress. Early recognition of stress may thus play an important role to plan appropriate intervention and prevent mental and physical health problems among adolescents.

coping with stress in middle and late adolescence essay

International Res Jour Managt Socio Human

Storm and stress in relation to adolescents can be said to be the challenges faced and dealt with during this process of growth, these stress and storm can be related to the pressure and expectation from society, media and peers pressure, stress is not necessary caused by these process of growth but by the demand and responsibility that is usually attached to it. These period of development in adolescents have various impact and effects on what kind of stress they face and how it is being dealt with, these stress can either physical, intellectual, emotional or social. Adolescent period is often believed to be a difficult period and very critical stage of transition because of various qualitative shift that they pass through at that moment of life and this conflicts with breaking away from the old self and interest of the childhood memories and all these periods are accompanied by significant changes of various degrees for instance, all the characteristics involved in puberty such as menstrual cycle in girls and hair growth in certain part of the body in boys as well as deepening of the voice. It is generally believed that most if not all adolescent experience difference stages of storm and stress at this period of their life, Ponty says not all adolescents are likely to experience stress, although of all stage of the life span, these years are the most volatile and also express his view further by saying that where adolescents do experience storm and stress, it is most likely to manifest in the following ways-Conflicts with parents: There is a high chance that adolescent tends to be rebellious due to their search of freedom and authority-Mood disruptions: adolescents pass through emotional cycle at this stage compared to childhood stage and adulthood.-Dodgy behaviours: adolescents are usually associated with certain dodgy behaviours such as recklessness, norm breaking and various level of antisocial behaviour. Most adolescent stress is also related to lack of identity which usually arises because they start to think about who they are and what they want to become and this tend to put them under a pressure to discover their real identity and the pursuit of this leads to a sharpened sense of dignity which makes them want to gain their freedom and freedom of choice thus creating a gap between themselves and their parents because they see themselves as more of an individual and someone who can make decisions on their own and this whole process of transition causes a whole lot of confusion between them and the parents which is one big subject parents nowadays find difficult to cope with and tends to see adolescent as moody, self centred, detached or being too concealed. Also this leads to peer pressure issues, the continuous search for identity leads to them flocking with people who are of the same mindset and this tends to put them under more pressure within

Psychological …

Connor Smith

Progress and issues in the study of coping with stress during childhood and adolescence are reviewed. Definitions of coping are considered, and the relationship between coping and other aspects of responses to stress (eg, temperament and stress reactivity) is described. ...

The present study aims to determine “Early Adolescents Perception of Personal, Parents related, School related and Teacher related Stress”. The findings in response to personal stress indicated that homework is the greatest stressor and participation in extra-curricular activity is the least stressor according to adolescents. The adolescents perceived that comparison by parents with peers in academics is stressful and comparison with peers in extracurricular activities is the least stressful. The adolescents also perceived that when they do not get appropriate feedback on school work, is a source of stress to them and participation in extracurricular activities is least stressful. When the teacher does not listen to them is the greatest stress and are least stressed when teacher expresses concern about their future goals. There is significant difference in the mean stress of grade VIII and IX adolescents. There is no significant difference in the mean stress between boys and girls.

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Personal Development Quarter 1 – Module 10: Coping with Stress in Middle and Late Adolescence

This module was designed and written to help you to manage your stress in life, and to maintain mental health. In this module, you will realize that stress is real, unavoidable, and has different impacts on every individual depending on the level of tolerance a person has toward stress. Stress should not be taken for granted because it will bring negative effects on the mind, emotion, and body, if not given attention and solution. The focus of this module is to help middle and late adolescents to cope with prevailing stress and learn how to minimize its effects. The scope of this module permits it to be used in many different learning situations. The language used recognizes the diverse vocabulary level of students. The lessons are arranged to follow the standard sequence of the course. But the order in which you read them can be changed to correspond with the textbook you are now using.

The module focuses on ideas and activities on how to cope with stress and maintain mental health.

After going through this module, you are expected to:

1. Identify the meaning of coping with stress/stress management.

2. List ways on how to face the different causes and effects of stress. Share ideas in dealing with stress and maintaining mental health with siblings, friends, and family.

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Home — Essay Samples — Nursing & Health — Stress Management — Coping Up With Stress


Coping Up with Stress

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Words: 931 |

Published: Jan 21, 2020

Words: 931 | Pages: 2 | 5 min read

  • Schwarzer, Ralf. Self-efficacy: Thought control of action. Taylor & Francis, 2014.
  • Meichenbaum, Donald. "Stress Inoculation Training: A preventative and treatment approach." The Evolution of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Routledge, 2017. 117-140.
  • Figley, Charles R., and Hamilton I. McCubbin. Stress and the family: Coping with catastrophe. Routledge, 2016.

Should follow an “upside down” triangle format, meaning, the writer should start off broad and introduce the text and author or topic being discussed, and then get more specific to the thesis statement.

Cornerstone of the essay, presenting the central argument that will be elaborated upon and supported with evidence and analysis throughout the rest of the paper.

The topic sentence serves as the main point or focus of a paragraph in an essay, summarizing the key idea that will be discussed in that paragraph.

The body of each paragraph builds an argument in support of the topic sentence, citing information from sources as evidence.

Should follow a right side up triangle format, meaning, specifics should be mentioned first such as restating the thesis, and then get more broad about the topic at hand. Lastly, leave the reader with something to think about and ponder once they are done reading.

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coping with stress in middle and late adolescence essay

Personal Development


As a teenager we faced many problems struggles/challenges in our life, like now as a senior high student, its very stressful because of many school works that our teacher given to us and family problem and also financial problem. There are two types of stress like good one and the bad one, stress is a part of one’s life. You can’t say you have truly lived if you haven’t experienced being stressed.

There are also many ways to avoid stress, It depends on us if what do we think is a more effective and comfortable way to use and also the stress is coming from our relatives, even if I’m not much of a family-oriented person I care for our family because I don’t want a messy family. I don’t want a family that is full of gossips and discredit each other.

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  1. How to help children and teens manage their stress

    Stress in young people doesn't always look like stress in adults. But like adults, children and teens—even those with life-altering losses—can find healthy ways to cope. Together, young people and their parents or caregivers can learn to spot the signs of excess stress and, with the right tools, manage it.

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    1. The document discusses various challenges faced by adolescents, including biological, psychosocial, and social stressors. 2. It describes issues like eating disorders, insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy that can arise from physiological development challenges. Cognitive development challenges like substance abuse are also examined. 3. The document outlines different types of stress and ...

  3. Stress Management and Teens

    Teenagers, like adults, may experience stress every day and can benefit from learning stress management skills. Most teens experience more stress when they perceive a situation as dangerous, difficult, or painful and they do not have the resources to cope. Some sources of stress for teens include:

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    Let's look through our list of ways to help your teen cope with stress. These methods would help reduce stress in anyone, but we've tailored them to teenagers for this guide. 1. Practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a mental state that is achieved by being fully in the present.

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    Discuss that understanding stress and its sources during adolescence may help in identifying ways to cope and have a healthful life. Identify sources of one's stress and illustrate the effect of stress on one's system. Demonstrate personal ways of coping with stress for healthful living.

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    Study with Quizlet and memorize flashcards containing terms like What is stress?, Causes and effects of stress ( feelings ), prolonged stress and more.