Whether you’re a parent or not, this is the time of year when the teenagers in your life – be it your niece or your friend’s son – might well be feeling stressed with exam results, new schools and university looming. So how can we support teenagers to manage their stress and become more resilient no matter what life throws at them?
‘You can help them in just seven words,’ says Nicola Morgan, author of The Teenage Guide To Stress (Walker Books, £7.99). ‘Tell them: “You are not alone. Talk to someone”. Whatever their worry, teenage stress is so new to them, they think they must be the only one to feel this way. Just encourage them to talk to you and say they do not have to suffer alone.
'You have probably said: “You know you can always talk to me about anything,” but you need to say it often. And they need to know that whatever it is, you will still love and forgive them. Otherwise, don’t expect them to confide in you.’
Morgan reassures us: ‘This is just a stage. But don’t tell them that, or you may get your ear bitten off! They are moving from being a protected child to an independent adult, and that can be painful for both sides. Look ahead to the time when they come back to you – ideally not with their washing!’
If all else fails, buy them a journal. ‘Most teenagers enjoy writing about their emotions. It’s an effective way of expressing their feelings safely,’ says Morgan.
Read Lessons for my teenage son by Sam Cleasby on LifeLabs