My Dad’s advice to me recently when I was sharing my struggles dealing with a toddler was to wait until she becomes a teenager, that’s when it gets real. Not to take away from the fact that any age has varying degrees of difficulties raising a teenager scares me.
Four Corners aired a documentary ‘Our Kids- Why Are They So Stressed?’ This gave amazing insight in to how stress plays out in teenager’s lives sometimes culminating in self-harm, drug and alcohol abuse or even suicide.
Bullying and fitting in were key components of stress along with balancing school and external activities. Social media also played a big part in exacerbating stressful situations.
It is such a massive topic and one that can’t be discussed lightly or in a short blog post but watching this highlighted two things for me. Always have open conversations with your children and listen more closely.
Beautifully summarised one of the girls in the documentary said that all she believes parents need to do is ask these few questions at the end of the day:
How was school?
How are you feeling?
How are your friends?
Is there anything stressing you out?
What can we do about this?
Another comment I found useful was to ‘Be available and free to talk without judgment’. So often kids fear rejection, anger or disappointment from their parents but having honest and frank discussions could really help them to open up and get to the bottom of where their stress is coming from.
A few of the younger ones stated ‘Be by their side to help them when they need you’ and ‘don’t wrap them up in cotton wool’ I found this so innocent and pure. In other words be there but don’t smother me.
Is it harder for kids now than when I was younger? I know my teenage self would have told you nothing is more awful than right now.
I hope listening more closely and having insight in to what a rebellious teen life is like will give me a leg up for when the time comes.
Click here to check out ‘Our Kids- Why Are They So Stressed?’