So many parents are concerned about how stressed out their teens are. Helping them cope with stress can be tricky when it seems like they don’t want our help or interference. I asked Jennifer Salerno to write a blog for you based on her book, Teen Speak, an essential guide in communicating with your teen. Teenagers seem like they don’t want us around, but when we connect in ways they can hear, we provide the support they both need and want.
During my career working with adolescents in a variety of settings, a surprisingly common theme among teens is their intense levels of stress. Unfortunately, many adults tend to blow off the seriousness or validity of teen stress, often considering their problems insignificant. It may be surprising to think that teens often experience higher levels of stress than adults. A study of more than 1,000 teens revealed an average stress score of 5.8 on a 10-point scale—with 3.9 being a healthy level of stress. The research by my team at Possibilities for Change continues to validate stress as a major issue among teens, as 13 percent of nearly 4,000 teens surveyed indicated they had serious problems or worries at home or school. Additionally, 1 in every 5 teens indicated they often feel sad and had nothing to look forward to during the past month.