Do you recall what it was like to be a teenager, to be back in high school? Ah yes, those carefree, fun filled days — well, with the exception of the stress and constant anxious feelings of situations we cannot understand. Now they seem so minimal to us, but this is not the case for your teenager. While we may worry about work, bills, and health, our teenagers have their own set of issues to deal with daily. Whether they are dealing with puberty, school, dating, friendships, lack of friendships, or their appearance we need to take the time to create an understanding. These situations can bring an onslaught of stress and anxiety for our teens, and may produce emotions that can affect how they sleep, eat and their physical activity.
We must keep in mind that during this time our children are learning who they are. They are trying to fit in with a crowd, or be the individual. They may be obsessed with their hairstyles, the way they dress, their music and their opinions. Each of these things are helping to build a character. Everything has a purpose to them, whether we understand it or not.
The emotional rollercoaster that parents have to deal with when it comes to their teens can be enough to cause the whole house to shake. Even though, there are plenty of things parents can do to help calm situations, stress and anxiety. You can helping teens learn to deal with situations in a positive, healthy manner rather than disappearing into solitude with video games or junk food. In doing so, life will be much easier for everyone and can help deter unhealthy habits such has poor food choices and issues with sleeping.
When things are getting rough and your teen may just want to run to their bedroom to be alone, try to get them moving. Exercise is a great stress reliever and boosts hormones to make you happier, like endorphins. Get them in a setting where they are active and able to clear their minds. You can suggest that they bring music to listen to while they are out getting fresh air.
What may even work better would be to take a walk with them. You too can benefit from this. Take this time to spend quality time together. It is okay if you do not talk much, or at all, being there is what matters.
One thing you can do to help make a conversation easier is to go for a drive. When you are in the car, there is no awkward eye contact which may help with being able to express both of your concerns more easily. This is a great time to ask them how they are feeling, how their day was and to understand what may be happening in their world. If your teen isn’t up for talking, don’t push it. They will eventually come around. Just being there and asking ensures them that you care. If they are open for talking, let them know you understand. Even a simple sentence like, “I’m sure that must upset you” can mean a lot.
Remember when your teen was tiny, cranky and in need of a nap or timeout? At this time it was up to the parent to have the better judgment and say when it is time for a nap or timeout to calm down. Now that your little one isn’t so little, it is up to them to learn when it is time to take a step back and refresh. Suggest that they take sometime doing something they find relaxing like, listening to music, yoga, exercising, drawing, writing or a hobby they enjoy.
When we are not quite feeling like ourselves, we make bad decisions that can affect our health. An example of this would be that people crave foods with higher calories when they are tired. You can help your teen make healthy choices by stocking up on nutritional snacks that they have the power to choose from. A few of these items are low-fat yogurt, whole wheat foods, fresh fruit and reduced-fat cheeses. If unhealthy foods are not around, your teen will be more open to making a healthy choice.
Sleep is a subject that cannot be emphasized enough. Your teen need at least 8 ½ hours of sleep at night. Without a healthy night of sleep there are more issues with moodiness, eating, concentration problems, car accidents, bad grades and not wanting to be active. You should always make time for healthy sleep. Let’s keep in mind that over sleeping can be an issue as well. Too much sleep can cause low energy, depression and can disrupt a daily routine.
As hard as it may be at times, do your best not to argue back. Teens will yell and scream all just to test your patience. It is best not to take this too personally. There is a lot going on with your teen that they do not quite understand. Try your best to understand and take it easy on them. It is best to try to create an environment that everyone feels comfortable speaking in about what is going on in their life. This can help everyone learn to communicate better by setting an example.
If you have questions about the wellbeing of your teen and how it’s affecting their health, please don’t hesitate to call MacKoul Pediatrics at 239-573-2001.
MacKoul Pediatrics is an amazing local pediatrics office in Cape Coral, FL where caring, compassionate doctors and nurses work with you to keep your children as healthy as possible. MacKoul cares for children from birth to college age, from Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, and beyond.
February 24, 2017