“How do I help my teen cope with stress?”

How do I help my teenager cope with stress? That is our question for today on Tips on Teens, where
I answer your parenting questions every Wednesday at noon. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a
licensed marriage and family therapist. I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families
live happier lives. I run two organizations, a group private practice called Teen Therapy
Center, also a nonprofit organization called Child and Teen Counseling, which is a training
site for pre -licensed therapists offering low -cost counseling to the community in the Woodland
Hills area and surrounding areas. Anyways, let's jump into today's question. So how do I help
my kid deal with stress? That's a big topic for a little question. We could do a whole conference
on this topic. So we don't have the time for that, we just have a few minutes, but I'm gonna try
to touch base on what some of the causes can be and some solutions to this problem. So first, let's
try to figure out what are some of the causes. Now,

you know, there's lots of teenagers in this world and stress is a part of life for teens. It's
stressful to be a teen, and it's stressful to be a parent. I want to acknowledge that. Being a
parent is not easy, so we get a lot of stress too. But teenagers, it's their first time going through
this kind of stress. They've never gone through this stress, and it's our job to kind of help
them go through this. I think the more we can identify where the stress is coming from, it gives
us more agency in finding ways to solve the problem. One of the common problems, not the only
problem, but a common problem is sleep. San Diego State University, a couple years ago, did
a research study and found that roughly 40 % of teenagers get less than seven hours of sleep a
night. Less than seven. Teenagers should be getting ten hours. Now, I know almost no teenagers
are getting ten hours sleep a night, but they should be getting close, at least eight. But if
you're getting less than seven, you're sleep deprived.

And sleep Sleep deprivation can, after a while, look a lot like anxiety and depression. Both
can be stress -induced. When that sleep is addressed and changed, a lot of those symptoms relax.
But if you are sleep -deprived, dealing with stress is a real challenge because your coping
skills, your ability to use your prefrontal cortex, that executive function of the brain,
is hampered and you're not able to use it properly. So you react or you shut down So that's something
really important to look into also Nutrition is your kid getting a moderately healthy diet,
you know, and I know everyone has a different idea of what is moderately healthy But moderately
healthy if your kid is, you know living on chips and Pepsi, you know, your kids gonna be stressed
out screens excessive use of screens tablets phones consoles excuse me, you know, they all
can add stress. They don't relax people. They say, oh, I do this to relax. It doesn't relax you.
It amps you up and it amps you up in a way that it gives

the brain stimulation that is usually assigned or connected to activity. So if you're out running
around playing tag, it's stressful and it's exciting, but you're getting a lot of physical
activity, get it out. If you're playing a game or a first -person shooter, you're getting that
same excitement but you're not getting the physical release. So after the game you're tense
and agitated and mom may say, hey it's time for dinner. I don't want dinner right now! Right?
So those can be problems. So again, identifying where some of the stress is coming from can be
helpful. So some of the solutions. What can help? Obviously more sleep, healthy diet, a little
less screen time. There is correlation between screen time and lack of sleep. Again, according
to this study, you know, a lot of the kids, you know, if they go to sleep in the room and they've
got a device, they're likely waking up at least once, if not three times a night, to check their
phone or their tablet, which means they're getting

even less and less sleep. They're waking up every an hour, two hours or so. So, getting the screens
out of the room is helpful. Also, handwork, doing something, whether that's, you know, knitting
or it's doing a puzzle or a model or a cooking or doing something it gives one a sense of mastery
and autonomy and gives them a sense of I can do I can control which is really important without
that it kind of gets lost I've known a lot of kids who've gone to things like again knitting model
-making whittling wood and again it doesn't matter what it is it just matters that they have
something that they find interesting that will do none None of it will be as fun as a video game
or social media, so it's important to help guide them towards that. And again, that's a whole
other discussion we can go into. Other things, again, physical activity. Also talking. When
your kid comes to talk to you about a stressful situation, we will often jump in and try to correct,
well, why did you do it this way? Why

don't you do it that way? And start correcting what they should have done and telling them what
they should do. And that we should not do that as parents. We need to zip our mouth, have big ears,
and just listen and validate. So if your kid's complaining that, oh yeah, I yelled at my teacher
because she was unfair. Don't jump and say, well, you shouldn't yell at your teacher. Just say,
wow, you must have been really angry. And just listen. If we just listen, eventually your kid's
going to say, oh, maybe I could have handled that differently or I wish I didn't yell so much.
But that's the place we want our kids to go to. When we jump in and try to correct, we're relieving
our stress, but we're creating more stress for a kid because now they're not feeling heard,
they're not feeling understood, and they're feeling criticized. And it's like, well, why
even tell anyone? So now they feel like they've got to hold on to it all by themselves. Again,
creating more stress. Again, big topic. If you

have specific questions about this, please email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter
.com. We can answer more in detail. Or if you have another question you'd like me to answer next
week, email us again, tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com or direct messages right here
on Facebook. We love your questions. Keep them coming. Again, my name is Kent Toussaint and
I'll see you next Wednesday at 12 on Facebook Live. Bye -bye.

I’m stressed. I’m overwhelmed. I have too much to handle.

If you’re the parent of a teenager, you might have heard them say something along those lines before. In a 2018 Pew Research Center survey, 70% of teens 13-17 said Anxiety and Depression were a major problem for them. It’s no secret that today’s teens are going through a lot! So what can families do to support their teens? Here’s this week’s #TipsOnTeens question:

“How do I help my teenager cope with stress?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.