February Mental Health Focus: Stress in Children and Teens

Amid their busy lives, adults may sometimes miss signs that their child is severely stressed. What resembles physical discomfort could be a stress reaction that a child doesn’t have the emotional vocabulary to express. Behavioral symptoms of stress in adolescents can include irritability or moodiness, withdrawal from activities, clinging to a parent or teacher, or displaying newly aggressive or stubborn behavior. Below are some tips to help support a young person in your life who is struggling with stress.

  • If you notice your child struggling, try doing simple things together. Take a walk, make a craft, play catch, or go out to eat. Shared low-pressure activities can make your child feel more comfortable sharing their worries. 
  • If a teen’s after-school activities create stress because of scheduling and trying to keep up with homework, ask them to consider eliminating an activity.
  • Set a good example by letting your child see how you manage stress. Show them how to step back, breathe deeply, and slow down.