An insight into the developmental stage of adolescence, to better understand the common causes of stress among them.
Have you ever found your child behaving indifferently without any particular reason?
Do they regularly argue with you and ask conflicting questions to you?
Do you think this radical change of attitude is a red flag for you?
If you can relate to the above, it’s high time for you to be cautious. Your child is going through psychological stress and the impact of which is getting reflected in their behavior, academic performance and social communication.
What is adolescence?
Adolescence is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood, spanning between 12- 17 years of age.
The journey is marked by complex physical, emotional and social changes resulting into depression, anxiety and stress.
What is stress?
Stress is a biological process that engages you either into a ‘fight or flight response’.
It can be acute or chronic.
Stress is a psychological condition when it overpowers your mental state causing you acute emotional and psychological disturbances.
Stress can be either positive or negative.
Signs of negative stress are more common than the positive ones. Children of adolescence stage mostly suffer from negative impacts of stress.
Stress among adolescents is soaring high nowadays, giving way to childhood depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety and cyber- crime.
Identifying the red flags should be an immediate concern rather than coping with drastic consequences.
The underlying causes of stress among adolescents.
1. ‘It’s not me’-
When a Child experiences extreme curiosity and confusion about the changes in their body.
Secretion of hormones brings changes in physical appearance, leaving the child bewildered. They feel awkward. Assuming the change is unreal, they cultivate a sense of insecurity, guilt and shame.
They feel people will consider them as ‘bad’ because the concept of morality to them was based on the ideology of ‘good- me’ (urge to have an ideal ‘self’ to others).
According to Kai-wen (2010), students at this level may sometimes experience incompatibility of their mental development with their physical changes or social environment and thus suffer from problems arising from inadequate adaptation.
Severe blow to their frame of ideal self can be a real stressor.
2. ‘I am misjudged’-
When they feel devastated being iteratively misinterpreted in relationship with parents.
The period of adolescence demands care and attention from parents, not by playing a role of a stringent parent but by establishing an amicable bond of affection and understanding.
Conflict with parents, if left unresolved can prove hazardous to your child’s mental health.
As a parent you need to win your child’s trust by applying ‘talking-out- phenomenon’ rather than helicoptering over them, intruding into their actions and autonomy. This will distance you from them, they will coil around their own zone, digging every ground to mental distress.
3. ‘My friends are also undergoing the same?’-
When they identify with the plight of their peers.
Feeling being judged and spied by you, your child will seek refuge with children of the same age.
Adolescence is a delicate stage of exploration. Children try new activities, under ‘peer pressure’ which lead them into substance abuse such as drugs, alcohol, delinquent behaviors, being rebellious, raising questions about societal norms.
4.‘Let’s find what’s new’-
When social and emotional isolation drags them into cyber- crime.
Your child being isolated from familial ties spend most of their spare time on internet. Constant browsing and strolling across the different websites, they fall prey into a web of crime without realizing the gravity of the degree.
According to a study report, Pew Internet & American Life (Madden et al., 2013) concluded that one in four children between 12- 17 years of age are rapid internet users.
Rampant social media posts and updates amplifies the stress in adolescents. They suffer from inferiority complexes and try to match foot with others so as not to lag behind from the pandemonium of the ‘virtual world’. This attributes for risks of suicide due to prolonged emotional turbulence.
5. ‘Am I not good enough?’-
When they experience heartbreak due to rejection in an affectionate relationship.
Stress caused by failed relationships, and denying to accept rejection are common in young hearts. This comes as an intense threat to their self worth and self esteem.
Your child feels that the approval of their ‘someone special’, awarding them as ‘perfect’ is the limit to measure their potentialities and real virtues.
This aggravates their troubles leading them to isolation, low mood, feelings of worthlessness.
Stress among adolescents should not be ignored by parents, care- givers and teachers. Any warning sign can be an alarm for you that your children are under stress.
Knowing the underlying causes of stress in a child, one should provide them with proper guidance and attention.
What are the steps to overcome stress among adolescents?
1.Undergo a Counselling session:
Counselling can be effective in dealing with their emotional problems, improving their views towards life by cognitively restructuring their negative thoughts and conflicts into positive ones.
2. Spend ‘quality time’ with your children:
Parents are advised to spend ‘quality time’ with their children. Doing this you will get a hint of what they are encountering at school, peer groups and their state of mind.
Improve your parenting skills by being your child’s counselor.
3. Engaging into physical activities:
Daily physical workout and exercise will help adolescents to get rid of their pent up emotions, anger, hopelessness by escalating blood circulation, hormone secretion and adequate sleep.
4. Learn to accept yourself:
Accept your real- self, take pride being the person you are rather trying to transform into someone to receive appreciation from others. This will help you to build up strong self- esteem to face criticisms.
Overcoming stress in adolescence would supply them power to face the struggles of adulthood, to establish improved social and intimate connections and well being.