Managing Stress

     If nothing else, parents of teens know the meaning of STRESS! It’s hard work to solve problems with teenagers. As your children continue on the road to adulthood, you may find yourself feeling stressed out more frequently. Stress is a natural response to upsetting situations and events and can manifest itself in a variety of ways. The results of stress can be physical, such as a headache or high blood pressure or it can manifest itself emotionally, such as sleeplessness, preoccupation, and worry. 

     Having stress in your life doesn’t always have to come from dealing with problems with your teenagers. Sometimes the activity level of your teen combined with your other obligations creates stress in your life. I had a friend that used to call this “hectisity”. In order to combat stress and “hectisity”, try these following tips:

1. Be Prepared When you know that you are going to be facing a difficult situation with your teenager or an extremely busy time, prepare for it ahead of time. Review the situation and make sure you know your stand on the matter.

2. Be Organized Keeping track of everyone’s obligations, will cut your stress level in half. There is nothing worse than coming home after running a dozen errands just to remember as you are sitting down that you didn’t pick up your daughter from soccer practice! I suggest using a wall calendar and as obligations come up and sporting schedules come home, write down everything on the right date, including times.

3. Accept the Challenge Think of a hard situation with your teen not as a defeat, but a challenge. The same with scheduling. It’s not something you can’t handle - but a chance for you to see what you are made of!

4. Breathe Deeply and Count to 10. It may seem silly to you, but if you can breathe deeply for ten of fifteen seconds when you feel stressed, it will help you to calm down before dealing with an issue. This is also the ideal time to pray. Ask God to help you respond in the correct way remembering that a “harsh answer stirs up wrath...”

5. Use Self-Talk To help calm yourself down, when an issue comes up that causes you distress, simply tell yourself to “calm down” or remind yourself the “this, too, shall pass”. Whatever you need to hear during times of conflict - tell it to yourself. It will help to put things in perspective and not act rashly.

6. Slow Down Try to simplify your life and have your kids simplify theirs. You don’t have to be involved in EVERY activity and neither do they. Just keep it simple; pick and choose. If life gets too hectic, ask yourselves what you can give up.

7. Keep a Journal Keeping a journal can serve as a reminder to you of how you handled similar situations: what worked and what didn’t. Make sure you note what you did to help ease your stress.

Patricia Chadwick is a a freelance writer and has been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years. She is currently a columnist in several online publications as well as editor of two newsletters. Parents & Teens is a twice monthly newsletter geared to help parents connect with their teens. Subscribe at History’s Women is weekly online magazine highlighting the extraordinary achievements of women. Subscribe at

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