Is your home filled with stress right now? You’re not alone. We all know that adults are struggling with the demands of life, but there is another group that is undergoing great amounts of stress--our children and teens are right there with us.
Adolescents not only feel the burdens of the virus and their parents' concerns, but feel the additional concerns of their own phase of life. They feel the stress of their peers, their school performance, their personal appearance, their community, and their future. That overwhelm can create frustration which they express in many different ways.
When you are under great amounts of stress – how do you feel? Do you ever respond with negative behavior? Do you ever get angry? Do you ever say or do things that you normally would not do or say?
Our adolescents are experiencing the same things, but do not have any life experience to deal with their stress. That is where you come in.
When you speak with your children, remember to consider their world and the tremendous stress they are carrying. Don’t just discipline their behavior, go a step deeper and consider what life looks like for them right now.
Taking that time to pay closer attention to our children can help us see what we may have been too distracted to notice before. For example, here are some signs of stress: changes in sleep patterns, more frequent headaches, shorter temper, recurring colds, frequent muscle ache, more disorganized than normal, increased trouble completing tasks, possible abuse of drugs or alcohol to medicate the pain, changes in eating habits, and self abuse.
Is your teen experiencing any of these symptoms? It might be time to engage with them and comfort around how they’re feeling. Even if your child’s behavior seems rebellious to you, those actions may instead be a reflection of overloaded and uncertain feelings about how to handle the stress of their world.
Remember to take time with your family. Get away from your concerns and enjoy each other, especially during this time. Change your focus from the volatility of the world to creating a safe place for you and your family.