Is your teen overscheduled and stressed?
A generation ago, you could not find a book on teen stress but today, surveys reveal that teenagers are actually more stressed than ever and more so than mom and dad. I oftern hear from teenagers when I ask how things are going? The response is: Im tire! Really what have you been doing? Oh, same ole same ole. While that is probably true, I would like to think that they were just speaking off the cuff with a come back response. However, there is a glaring culprit to this phenomenon and it is called the “hurried child”. This refers not only to the child who is pushing to grow up to fast and experience too much too soon but also to the teenager who is so scheduled that they are literally in a hurry most of their day. They are stressed out just trying to keep it all together and manage their complicated lives.
This can be a sensitive subject for the Buster Parent Generation because we think our child’s success is a direct reflection of how great we parent. Pause – any success your child has must be by the grace of God first and you second!
A recent survey confirmed that most teens are overscheduled as a result of parental influence. At the other end of the spectrum we have more teens than ever with too much freedom and no parental involvement or monitoring. We need a balance.
Children and teens can be overscheduled just like we parents. This can lead to serious problems unless we plan in some down time. We need to keep an eye out for when they may be putting too much on their plate. The hardest part of this problem when your child is a teenager you don’t know it’s happening until your teen is too far into all of the activities and you’re wondering how he/she got there. All of a sudden they are grossly overbooked and sinking in the ten foot wave of stress. They were selected to be on the Lead Team for the important FCA function, they love singing with the youth group praise band, they promised to help out with the Children’s ministry, basketball season is coming up and so is hunting season. Someone needs a responsible baby sitter, I want a part time job like my friend, and my travel team has decided to play a tournament 300 miles away.
GET A GRIP and remember WHO is in CHARGE here! You the parent need to help guide the schedule not make it worse!
Here are ten signs of burnout that can help you ID the situation:
- Your teenager is acting depressed. He doesn’t want to do anything, he has lost interest in things he likes to do, and he has decrease attention or effectiveness when doing things.
- Your teenager is feeling some anxiety for no known reason or he acting is over anxious. He has the inability to relax, is not sleeping well, having nightmares, restless, etc.
- Your teenager is suffering from insomnia.
- He is unable to get to sleep at night or he wakes up and is unable to go back to sleep.
- Your teenager is either overeating or under eating, as both are a response to being stressed.
- Your teenager is giving in to impulse behavior, more than normal, and is showing signs of emotional instability, more than normal.
- Your teenager is experiencing neck or back pain.
- Your teenage daughter is missing menstrual cycles.
- Your teenager is complaining of stomachache, dizziness, dryness of throat and mouth.
- Your teenager is acting ‘keyed up’, has emotional tension and alertness, and high-pitched voice or nervous laughter.
- Increased risk taking behavior can be a sign of burnout. For example: smoking, drinking alcohol, experimenting with sex or drugs sometimes point to underlying problems such as burnout.