Though every adolescent faces unique live events, some challenges are common to many of them. Identifying the main stressors affecting adolescents helps therapists to offer the appropriate support to facilitate recovery. Body image issues and parental pressure are the two types of stressors unique to adolescents (Zaidi, 2013). If not managed properly, stress can push adolescents to resort to risk-taking behaviors such as suicide, thus talking it out is one of the coping mechanisms.
Physical body changes can affect how adolescents feel and think and eventually cause stress. Adolescence is a stage characterized by many physical changes, some of which cannot be hidden. Comparing one’s physical appearance with peers and friends who are facing similar changes could cause stress. One may discover that he/she has grown fat or thin than others, hence fitting in could be impossible. Adolescents experience a transition that makes them lose their sense of self (Hart & Weber, 2008). Parents are also another source of stress for adolescents. Though parents always have good intentions for their children, the pressure to constantly perform well in all aspects of life is detrimental to teens’ health. Parents’ constant criticism can unconsciously inflict self-worth issues and mental breakdown on adolescents (Hart & Weber, 2008). Particularly problematic for these teens is that parents tend to assign high value to children who score high in exams. Adolescents receive the message that they must use whichever means to meet their parents’ academic expectations. As adolescents try to live towards their family’s expectations, they start to feel stressed along the way.
The risk-taking habits resulting from these external stressors include depression and suicidal behavior. High-stress levels are associated with suicidal ideation in adolescents (Zaidi, 2013). Failure to meet parents’ expectations can cause teenagers to develop anger, self-doubt, and anger (Hart & Weber, 2008). Some may consider suicide as a solution to their problems. Adolescents are often ill-equipped to handle the challenges associated with physical body changes. These situations overwhelm teens, and the impacts can lead to depression.
Adolescents can manage their stress by talking it out. Stress can be easily managed by allowing a trusted friend, teacher, or parent to help put things into perspective. They may help by giving advice or finding solutions to the problems causing stress.
Hart, A. D., & Weber, C. H. (2008). Is your teen stressed or depressed?: A practical and inspirational guide for parents of hurting teens. Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson.
Zaidi, S. (2013). Stress Management for Teenagers, Parents, and Teachers: A Breakthrough Approach to Get Rid of Stress at Its Roots. Camarillo, California: Sarfraz Zaidi.