Managing stress, modeling positive behaviors as the new school year unfolds
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Managing stress, modeling positive behaviors as the new school year unfolds

Anticipation is in the air as families prepare for back to school. Buying school supplies, finding out your classes, starting activities and sports, and meeting up with friends generates excitement… and apprehension. Teens, who are expected to perform their best in academics, standardized tests, and extra-curricular activities, must manage multiple demands and prioritize, often without any tools to do so. We want them to eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, while successfully navigating teenage relationships. All of this, while their bodies are being overrun with hormonal changes. These demands accelerate as college looms closer.

Parents, who are juggling the multiple demands of parenting, work, and health, feel the pressure as well. Add to this the climate of anxiety caused by an uncertain world, with daily stories of disease and disaster and violence. Families can develop toxic levels of stress that can overwhelm without learning and implementing stress management techniques.

Stress is neither good nor bad: it is not the events that happen that make us happy or sad. It is how we view them. Teaching our children how to manage stress effectively and modeling positive behaviors for them is a good starting point for them to build good coping skills.

•  It is okay to make mistakes

•  No one is perfect

•  Thoughts can be facts or opinions. Learn to differentiate

•  Build trust

•  Encourage the expression of feelings

•  Teach your children to problem solve

•  Help them practice getting through a difficult situation

•  Pay attention to what your child is telling you- directly and indirectly

•  Exercise

•  Learn and practice relaxation techniques

•  Eat together as a family at least once a week

• Encourage good sleep habits

•  Do not over-schedule

•  Have fun and remember to laugh

When channeled well, stress helps us perform at our best. If your child seems to be struggling, encourage them to talk. Show them unconditional love. Share with them different perspectives- what seems like an urgent problem now may not feel that way after a period. Seek professional help, if needed, for them to learn effective coping tools. Recognize that depression and anxiety have increased for teens, and it is positive to seek help.

At Core Counseling of North Jersey, you can pursue Mind-Body Wellness through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness and other therapeutic techniques. To find out more or to schedule an appointment, with one of our therapists. Contact Core Counseling of North Jersey: 201-875-5699 or www.CoreCounselingofNorthJersey.com

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