Stress doesn't just affect adults!
Today's social pressures and expectations create anxiety levels that teens can't always be expected to handle.
Kids today live in a very different world than the primarily carefree teenage one adults were fortunate enough to experience.
Peer pressure is nothing like it used to be, especially with the advent of social media. Add to that unrelenting expectations in a
rapidly advancing world, the pressure to fit in, the anxiety of juggling school with newly required extra-curricular activities needed
for college admission...well, it's often the making of a pressure cooker ready to explode!
Most adults have developed ways to handle their own stress levels. But that's just not so with kids. Adults have to understand that young teenage brains
have not yet developed the coping mechanisms needed to deal with stress overloads. Plus, because stress is relatively new to kids,
they often tend to think they are different and that there will never be an end to their anxiety.
And too often, kids turn to alcohol and drug use to cope with their ever-rising stress levels.
It's critical that parents and educators do not dismiss teen angst with clichéd advice. Phrases such as "You'll get over it"
do nothing to allay adolescent fears. In fact, words like these only serve to make teens believe that their anxiety is not understood or taken seriously.
Adolescent stress is very real, and teens need to know that adults are supportive and open to talking to them on a personal level, without judgment,
and helping them to find constructive ways to manage their stress.
At P.E.D.A., teens and adults work together to find ways for kids to best manage their stress and for teens to best share their coping mechanisms with
Here are a few coping mechanisms right out of the mouths of P.E.D.A. teens:
"I use art to help me chill when I'm really stressed. I use it as an outlet for my emotions. Plus it makes me feel good to create something."
"Exercise helps relieve my stress. I always feel better after I exercise. I read online that exercising produces a chemical called endorphins in the brain that make you feel good."
"Helping others always makes me feel good about myself. It lets me feel like I'm doing something useful."