High school is full of challenges, academic and otherwise, that can add up to some serious stress for your teen. They’re tackling homework and navigating complex social dynamics, all while balancing time spent with friends, family, and on activities. The demands and schedule might start to feel overwhelming. As the parent, helping your teenager navigate these rough waters is crucial.
Here are some tactics to keep your high schooler from feeling overly stressed when they’re swamped with school work and obligations:
1. Tackle tough homework incrementally.
A large project can sometimes feel like an impossible hurdle, especially if your teen struggles with organization or focus. Instead of jumping straight in, encourage your teenager to break the assignment down into more manageable pieces. Start with a brainstorming session one day, research the next, and so on. This will help the project seem much more achievable. Then, your high schooler can keep a To-Do list of the various steps and check things off as they get completed. Each time he or she gets to tick a box they will feel less stressed about the impending deadline.
2. Familiarize before diving in.
The unknown or unfamiliar can leave teens feeling uneasy. If your high schooler is diving into a new opportunity – a part-time job, an internship, a new club or group — help them to familiarize themselves with what is to come. Check out websites, visit the location, or meet with someone already involved. If their new venture feels familiar it can cut back on your teenager’s nerves about the unknown.
3. Keep things organized at home.
Returning home to a disorganized environment with little structure can have a snowball effect on a teen already stressed after a jam-packed day of high school. Help your teen to create order in his or her room and the rest of the house as well. Make sure your high schooler has a neat and tidy space to work on assignments. Display a calendar with activities and obligations in the kitchen. Establish a predictable framework for after school hours and weekends, too. Disorganization and lack of a clear plan can cause many teenagers to feel apprehensive and distressed.
4. Offer stress relief opportunities.
If your teen needs to relieve some stress, give them the space to do so. Encourage them to tap into activities that make them feel better when school and responsibilities become overwhelming. They might love playing an instrument or writing poetry or riding horses. Whatever gives them a release and brings them joy is worth exploring. And while your teen may not be a varsity athlete, consistent exercise is a wonderful antidote to stress. Help them find an exercise outlet they enjoy. If team sports aren’t their thing, they could always try swimming, dance, or long walks around the neighborhood.
If your high schooler needs additional help with stress management, we encourage you to speak to the staff at Doorways to find out if our services might be the right fit for your family. We provide counseling and psychiatric services exclusively for teens, young adults, and their families in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Each of our staff is dedicated to the specialized needs of high schoolers and committed to the compassionate understanding of their struggles.