What Causes Teen Stress?

Did you know that many teens suffer more stress than adults? According to research by the American Psychological Association for the Stress, teen stress rivals that of adults.


Since 2020 studies have revealed that teen depression and anxiety has doubled. Ongoing teenage stress can lead to depression and anxiety.



Most teens experience more stress when they perceive a situation as difficult, dangerous, or painful and they do not have the resources to cope. Teenagers, like adults, can experience daily and can benefit from learning stress management skills.


3 Common Causes of Teen Stress:


By being aware of the common triggers of stress can help your teen better manage their feelings. The best way to understand how your teen processes stress and where the stress stems from is to engage in open and honest communication about stress. It is important for parents to normalize the concept of stress and empower teens to utilize adaptive coping strategies.


1. Academic Stress:  Many teens worry about meeting academic demands, pleasing their parents and teachers, and keeping up with their classmates. Especially for high school students, the fear of failure sets in as academic demands increase. They are concerned about their test scores, applying to colleges and the financial costs of higher education.


Helping your teen with time management skills and better study habits can alleviate some of this stress.


2. Social Pressures. Today it is not only about school pressure to fit in, to be popular, it is also about their online lives. Never doubt the importance it has on most teenagers. Teens place a high value on their social lives — digitally and in real life. Peer pressure is an additional stress during the teen years and with the rise of technology, it has doubled. Teens are losing sleep, becoming agitated and hooked to their screens — living for likes.


Help your teen lead a more balanced lifestyle by engaging in a technology agreement. It gives everyone more family time and digital detoxing.


3. Family Discord. What goes on in your home can affect the entire family. Stress trickles down, and anything that impacts the family can affect the teen. Marital problems, sibling relationships, illness in the family, death in the family, financial stress on the family can all trigger a spike in teen stress.


Life is not perfect and you will have times when curve balls are thrown your way, keep the lines of communication open with your teenager. Although you may not want to share every personal detail, recognize you are going through a difficult time, but you are there for your teen too. It will soften their stress.


4 Signs of Teen Stress


1. Emotional changes: Be aware of your teen’s behavior: do they appear to anxious, agitated, or depressed?


2. Physical changes: When a teen is under stress, they are more likely to get sick or complain of headaches, stomachaches, or other aches and pains. Not wanting go to school is also an indicator.


3. Behavioral changes. Changes in eating or sleeping habits, and avoidance of normal daily activities.


4. Cognitive changes: You might notice decreased concentration, forgetfulness, and/or the appearance of carelessness.


In conclusion:


Healthy lifestyle choices can often help your teen handle stress or reduce its effects. Limiting their screen-time, exercise, eating healthy, sleeping well and avoiding drugs and alcohol.


If your teen is often overwhelmed by stress and is finding it difficult to cope with everyday things, they might benefit from extra support.  Consult with your family doctor or a therapist for help.


Read: Why Is My Teen Depressed?

Read: Why Does My Teen Self-Harm?


If your teenager is struggling with stress, depression and anxiety and you have exhausted your local resources, contact us for a free consultation to learn how residential treatment can help.


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Many parents are at their wit’s end with the challenges of raising teenagers. If you are considering residential therapy, contact us for a free consultation.

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