How to keep your teen focused during stressful school years 

Bruce Springsteen wrote about people’s formative high school years often being seen as ‘glory days.’ However, many of us remember them differently. They can be years of exam stress, struggling to fit in, and just general discomfort as you finally discover who you are as a person. If your own teenager is currently struggling at high school, it is important to support them in a way that works for you both. It may be a tempestuous time, but there are ways of making the ride easier.

Help to manage mood swings

Mood swings are just an everyday feature of being a teenager. One day it might be all quiet and pleasant on the Western Front, whereas on other occasions hormones can turn their moods upside down. Sometimes anger and volatile outbursts are a symptom of a bigger problem. Professional Behavioral Teen Treatment is just one avenue to consider if you suspect that there is something else driving their mood swings. If their emotional outbursts seem to be more driven by paranoia, depression or anxiety, then a therapist or specialist is really your best port-of-call.

If you’re not sure when to intervene when it comes to changes in temper, there are small, subtle signs you can keep your eyes peeled for. Sometimes mood swings are a symptom of wider stress, which should always be dealt with. For example, going to bed exceptionally late or changes in appetite could be a significant indicator that your child is struggling to cope.

Encourage their passions

One of the best parts about being a teenager is developing earnest enthusiasm for bands, hobbies, and other passions. It’s important that as a parent you encourage these (within reason, of course.) If they are a gifted athlete or painter, then perhaps ask them if they would like to enroll in a course or summer program. This will provide a pleasant distraction, particularly during busy exam periods.

Don’t be afraid to campaign

If you suspect that your child’s unhelpful approach to studying is originating at the school itself, then do not be shy about campaigning for a change of tact. Talking to teachers and asking for a more reasonable approach towards studying is a perfectly reasonable course of action. Advocating for an improved ‘best practice’ for exam stress, for example, will not only help your child but others who are studying at the same institution. If you’re not sure about approaching this by yourself, then why not chat to other parents? You may discover that your child is not alone in feeling the pressure, or is not the only one coming home with too much work to handle.

Keeping your child healthy and active is one of the best approaches you can take for keeping your teen focused and healthy during stressful school years. Getting out of the house also encourages them to have a healthy work and life balance; a lesson that will be valuable to them far beyond high school.

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