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Helping Youth Handle Stress

Are you causing your child to be stressed? Youth might feel they need to perform to please their parents. Children experience second-hand stress from the stress of adults.

Stress may lead to worry, anxiety and physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomach aches. Children may try to escape pressure by quitting or not caring, or they may respond to pressure by rebelling.

Eliminate unnecessary stresses. Avoid pressuring children too much to achieve and be perfect. Prevent your child from experiencing second-hand stress by taking care of your own emotional needs. Model how to handle stress in constructive ways.

Focus on preventing the stress we can control. Prioritize to build a daily routine that includes a healthy balance of exercise, good eating, sleep, learning, entertainment and socialization.

Guide your child to develop skills for responding to stress. Through conversations, help your child identify the stress. Ask, “What can be changed?” and “What can’t be changed?” Brainstorm solutions to the problems that can be addressed. Work through stresses that can’t be changed.

Brad Schwall, Ph.D., created the Cool Kids curriculum, which helps children develop social and emotional skills.