Is Your Teen Stressing Out? Assure Them They Have What It Takes

by Sally Matheny

Is Your Teen Stressing Out?

Is your teen feeling overwhelmed with school, relationships, or work? 

Transitioning into young adulthood can be stressful. How can parents assure their teens they have what it takes?

Moreover, how can parents help, but not too much? 

In an article on USA Today’s website, "Teens Feeling Stressed, and Many Not Managing It Well" , psychologist, Michael Bradley commented on the level of parental help:

"Some parents set out on a mission to get rid of stress in their kids, but the fact is, some degree of stress is very therapeutic and an appropriate amount of stress is what helps us become strong. The hard part is what's appropriate. We do know the more we try to mitigate all stress in our children's life the less resilient that child becomes and they feel hopeless about their own future." 

Numerous articles, such as this one, point to the symptoms, and the reasons, for the anxieties teens face. Helpful suggestions are offered on how to curtail the stress, such as cutting back on activities and minimizing negative factors.
However, I suggest Christian parents counsel their teens to add more to their lives. That’s right—more. Allow me to explain. 
The following suggestion is presupposing your teen already has a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. If he doesn’t, this is a great time to explain our need for Christ. However, this post is addressing teens who already have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Teens become anxious about the uncertainties of life, especially when it concerns their future. Whether that’s the prom this spring, or making education choices for a career ten years from now. Quite often we hear young people express, “I don’t know what God wants me to do with my life!”

Parents can encourage their teens by looking at 2 Peter 1:

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; 
and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to 
self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 
and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, 
they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive 
in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 
2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV)

Ask your teens what they think God means by faith, goodness, and knowledge. How can we increase these? Will something have to decrease in order for this to happen?
What does self-control, perseverance, and godliness look like in their day-to-day lives? In what ways can they strengthen these qualities? Discuss how that affects others around them.
Talk about examples of brotherly kindness and love we show at home, at work, and at school. Which area do they find it most difficult to show love? Why? Brainstorm for ways to help show more kindness and love to people.
Based on scripture, what do they know about God’s love? Encourage them to make a list and post it as a reminder of the magnitude of His powerful love.
At some point in this conversation, a slight eye roll or a heavy sigh may take place. It’s okay. Just tell your teens the same thing Peter told his “children.”

“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them…I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live…and I will make every effort to see that…you will always be able to remember these things.” 2 Peter 1:12-15 (NIV)

Teens Need Parents Refreshing Their Minds and Hearts
No matter what teens may say, it means a great deal to them when parents show they care.
There's not a one-size-fits-all answer for reducing stress. Occasionally, teens may need a little parental guidance in time management and decision-making. Ultimately, they need godly, loving parents refreshing their minds and hearts.
Assure them if they increase in God’s ways, there is no need to stress out. Everything is going to be okay, because they have what it takes.
Does your teen have what it takes?
Do you?

[i] Jayson, Sharon. “Teens Feeling Stressed, and Many Not Managing It Well.”USAToday.com. Web. 2014/02/11

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