By Dr. Jan Hittelman
We live in a stressful world and we often underestimate how stressed youth are. In response to numerous local focus groups regarding substance abuse, depression, and other risk concerns, middle and high school youth consistently identify stress as a common precipitating factor. It is important that your child knows how to effectively manage stress. The first step is providing frequent opportunities for your child to talk about the things that are stressful in their lives and to simply be an attentive listener. Additional stress management techniques include: reducing over-scheduling, learning relaxation techniques, exercise, reducing negative or perfectionistic thinking, and simply prioritizing having more fun.
For some youth, anxiety issues can be so significant that they may suffer from diagnosable conditions such as: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and others. The good news is that, once identified by a licensed mental health professional, there are effective treatments available.