Work on assertiveness training. Arming your teen with the ability to stand up for their needs, without causing the other person to become defensive or angry, helps make situations that could potentially become stressful to end satisfactorily for all involved. Being able to state, “Please don’t yell at me,” or “I feel angry when you treat me that way,” can help your teen feel more in control and reduce escalation of a stressful situation.
Talk about ways your teen can take a break from a stressful situation. This may be taking a walk or removing himself temporarily from a situation, listening to music or participating in a relaxing hobby for a little while.
Have your teen make a list of situations which cause him stress. Review each situation and talk about ways your teen can better react or be prepared. For example, if giving an oral report in class causes anxiety, spend time practicing at home or enroll him in a speech class to give him more confidence.
Focus on your teen’s strengths. Sometimes we feel stressed because we aren’t very good at a certain activity. Remind your teen that everyone has specific strengths and can’t be good at everything. Let him know you are proud of him, no matter what.
Ask your teen to write down how he talks to himself. For example, when nervous about an upcoming test, does he tell himself he will fail or that he is a failure? Positive self-talk can greatly reduce stress and anxiety. Have your teen replace negative thoughts with a positive ones.
These stress reducing techniques were adapted from “Helping Teenagers With Stress” from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
For more information:
“Can Stress Actually Be Good for You?” 2006, Dec 20, Jane Weaver, NBCNews.com
“Helping Teenagers with Stress,” 2005, May, Staff Writer, American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry