Lori Lite, creator of Stress Free Kids helps teens tame their own stress.

Managing anxiety is just a breath away. Enjoy this easy breathing technique taken from the Indigo Teen Dreams CD.  Download it to your desktop and import it into iTunes, iPhone, iPod, Zune.

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Most parents recognize (and remember) that the teenage years are a volatile time marked by the struggle for independence, the forging of identity, the painful process of emotional maturation, and the learning of societal norms.  Yet parents often underestimate the toll that the stress from these years can take on a teen.

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This teenage stress has never been more prevalent. Teenagers are living ever-more complex lives in a society that increasingly treats them as younger adults.  It is as important as it’s ever been, then, for parents to recognize the  causes of teen stress and to take measures to relieve or combat it. 

Lori Lite, author and creator of Stress Free Kids, a line of books, CDs, and curriculums designed to help children manage anxiety, stress, and anger while promoting self-esteem and peaceful sleep, warns that untreated, teen stress can lead to illness, depression or worse.

“ Teens are worried about grades, sports achievements, peers, relationships. Many teens are dealing with divorcing or single parents. The recession has also increased stress for teens. Many are working to help make ends meet. Others are in fear of their parents losing their jobs and the roof over their head.”

“This is a stressful time for teens, which also makes it a dangerous time.”

Lite also cites a myriad of other factors, both macro and micro, that can cause stress in teenagers.  These include, but are not nearly limited to, tests, homework, peer pressure, divorce, the economy, military, college, work load, sports, extra curricular activities, even opening lockers, getting lost on campus, and time management.

A mother of three herself, Lite has some tips for parents to help their teens overcome their stress.

1. Remember that stress is contagious, but so is calm. Demonstrate relaxation and positive statements in your parenting routine.

2.  Talk to your teen. Figure out when their guard is most likely to be down and use that time to communicate.

3.  Stay up and have a late night snack with your teen. Teens may be more talkative at night and in the kitchen .

4. Tell stories about challenges you have had as a teen and how you handled it. Make sure to share the mistakes you made. Teens are more likely to share their challenges after a story than a direct question.

5.  Give your teens more freedom, but keep clear boundaries. A teen without rules is a teen with much stress.

6.  Schedule downtime with your teen. Go pumpkin picking, horseback riding. Take them out of their usual environment. You’ll be surprised how your teen will let their walls down doing something outdoors.

7. Pay attention to what you say to your teen. Take a break from criticizing and correcting. Make a choice to give a compliment everyday.

8. Expose your teen to relaxation techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, visualizing, progressive muscular relaxation, and positive statements. Empower you teen to feel good!

Parents sometimes make the mistake of interpreting legitimate stress as the typical emotional volatility associated with being a teenager.  Labeling stress as ‘just being a teen’ both unfairly discounts the difficulty of the teenage years and can obscure the telltale signs of damaging teen stress.  Parents might notice their teen is stressed if they see that their teen is easily agitated, overactive, confused, afraid, angry, sad, anxious or withdrawn. A preoccupation with a traumatic event, withdrawal from family and friends, sleep disturbances and physical complaints can all be indicators of stress. Lite encourages parents to trust their instinct.

Teens can also help manage their own stress levels, by making a homework plan, scheduling downtime, exercising regularly, eating healthy, not overscheduling (and actively scheduling downtime and time to talk with parents), and getting plenty of sleep.  Parents should encourage this behavior whenever possible.

Teen stress is a very real, potentially damaging condition. 

Parents should take whatever steps possible to help their teenagers relieve their stress during this challenging period of life.  And they should start today.

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Lori Lite is the creator of Stress Free Kids – www.stressfreekids.com  Her books, CDs and curriculums  help children, teens, and adults manage anxiety, stress, and anger while promoting self-esteem and peaceful sleep.   Her award winning Indigo Dreams CD series, including Indigo Teen Dreams  have been embraced by parents, psychologists, educators, therapists and doctors around the world.

Head Space is honored to be a friend and affiliate of Lori Lite and her fantastic work.