stress is a topic of concern for our community. Our
teenagers are overbooked, lack time management skills,
are driven to succeed and are overwhelmed. While many
adults remember their teen years with fond memories
of friends and fun, our teens are dealing with conflicting
demands from teachers, parents and peers.
The primary sources of tension in adolescence today
include academic pressure, relationship difficulties
with peers, conflicts with parents and pressure to succeed.
During the teen years, today’s youth have many
adult responsibilities, but without the freedom and
independence of adulthood.
Often teens have not yet developed the coping skills
required to deal with stress, and therefore their responses
to stress tend to be less healthy. These unhealthy responses
may include anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical
illness, drug and alcohol use, and depression.
Although stress is uncomfortable, it is not unmanageable.
There are ways that teens can work to deal with the
stress they experience before it becomes overwhelming.
For example, teens can learn to manage their time. Not
unlike many adults, young people tend to have difficulty
organizing their time and as a result become overbooked
and overwhelmed. Developing the skills to prioritize
and schedule can be important in relieving some stress.
Maintaining friendships and taking time to enjoy life
is also very important in stress management and reduction.
Finally, maintaining some physical activity or regular
exercise is extremely beneficial in this area.
When stress does become overwhelming, there are still
options. Learning relaxation techniques to self sooth
before panicking, talking to friends that may be experiencing
similar stress, and talking to parents about what they
are going through can be very important during these
As the end of the semester approaches, it is important
to be aware of the increase in stress levels of our
teenagers. As students begin to scramble to make a last
effort to bring up grades, their young minds begin to
worry about how the outcome of the semester will affect
their lives, their feelings about themselves, and their
parent’s pride in them.
Many teens seek help from a counselor to deal with
stress that has become overwhelming, or to help them
to manage some of the stressors in their lives. Adolescent
Counseling Services (ACS) has counselors available on
all of the middle school and high school campuses in
Palo Alto, as well as Menlo-Atherton High School, for
teens that may need a safe place to talk. Teen stress
is a problem, but there are solutions and people who
can help make this stress more manageable.