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Stressful as it gets: It’s never been easy to be a teenager (it reminds me of my own high school woes?), but nowadays it is harder than ever. The competition to be a better dresser or sports player, to get better grades, to take or not take drugs—it’s all intense etc. etc.

All kids have to come to terms with where they fit into the world and how much pressure they will put on themselves. It is your job as a parent not to micromanage your child’s world—that will probably make matters worse—but to be there for your child when she needs you for support that’s what it is.

Many adolescents have trouble dealing with stress; they may never have been as aware of it before, and now need to develop the right tools. A teen can always find lots of things to worry about: family, concerns, grades, fitting in, body issues, friend problems, single dad, the death of a loved one’s perhaps.

I find often every problem, no matter how big or small, takes on equal proportion in the life of a teen; these problems can seem insurmountable to your son or daughter. Again, be there for him or her but help him or her to develop coping mechanisms.

Best to manage or combat stress in their lives; 

  • Exercise is a great stress reliever. It’s hard to really feel pressure when you are working your body hard. It’s a great habit to get into, so encourage your daughter to take a walk or go for a run if she is having a hard time. 

  • Eating well—which means cutting back on caffeine and fast-food— and getting enough sleep also goes along way towards lowering stress.

  • Team sports can relieve tension for teens. (But be cautious: Team sports are fraught with more stressors—Will she get to play? Will he or she play his position well?)

  • Talking to you, a family member, a friend, your pediatrician, or a clergy member also helps. 

Because your teen may not have her coping skills down, he or she may be more likely than an adult to turn to drugs, may Allah forbid. That’s why I try to teach my child to rely on me, family and friends to conquer their stress with positive actions. Kids are the best teachers in my life.

As the parent of a teens, if you have the feeling that you’re starring in the cult classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers, you are not alone. Parents of teens often feel like they are on a wild ride for several years: Kids’ hormones are raging, they’re asserting their independence, and, as reams of research has shown, their brains are still changing and developing. Studies suggest that teens process emotional information differently than adults and use different parts of their brains to do so. So it’s not your imagination: A teenager is, indeed, a different animal. 🙂