THE BLOG

Is Your Teen Stressed? 12 Ways to Help

02/13/2015 06:59 pm ET | Updated Apr 15, 2015

Parent and peer pressure have always been heightened during teen years, however, the expectations placed on teens today seem higher than ever. And when those expectations can't be reached, teen stress builds.

Added to the pressure and need to be socially accepted by their peers, teens are expected to have multi-page resumes, play sports, do regular community service and get straight "As." With all these expectations, it's not a surprise to learn that one-third of all teenagers in the United States say they have considered suicide. How much stress is too much for your teen? If you're not paying attention, you may not know until it's too late.

Here are 12 ways de-stress your teen:

• Limit extra-curriculum activities to one or two things they truly enjoy so they have more down-time and can avoid over-scheduling.
• Try to eat at least one meal a day with them and have family discussions. You need to know what's going on in their lives.
• Get them off technology (computer, cell phone, iPod) for a couple of hours each week for family time, household chores or discussion.
• Make sure they have physical as well as intellectual stimulation every day. A brilliant mind can't do much without a healthy body.
• Pay attention to warning signs of depression or suicide.
• Let them be kids and have fun once in a while without an agenda. Everything doesn't have to be a learning project.
• Help them learn stress-reducing techniques such as yoga or meditation.
• Get to know their friends by opening your house to them or offering to drive to events. They are your direct connection to your teen's life outside of home.
• Reward them for making a true effort, not only for straight A's.
• Be active in their school. Volunteer for events and get to know their teachers.
• Don't push your own agendas and dreams upon them. Let them decide what they want to do in life.
• Act like a parent more than a friend. Your role is to teach, guide and support.