Think about it for a moment, what were you like when you were in your teens? Did you ever feel anxious and stressed?During their teen years they are in a state of transition between being a child and wanting to be an independent adult. The teen years are not only challenging for the parents, they are also challenging for the teenager. It’s not a very easy time and the stress that is experienced may be different than the stress of an adult however it’s very real and needs to be addressed so it doesn’t get out of hand.Each generation has its own unique circumstances. For some it was growing up during a war. In the sixties it was Vietnam and “free love.” In the 80s and 90s there was AIDS and drugs. Now in 2013 we are dealing with a combination of everything and stress has become even more prevalent.As a kid moves into their teens they start trying to find themselves. They want to have their own voice and opinions and now they also have to deal with pressure from their peers, society and their parents.Having brought up two children who are now adults who have their own kids and will go through those years with them too, I know what the teen years can be like for a parent.Teenagers do experience stress so if you have a teen and you as a parent or caregiver are finding it challenging, educate yourself on how to deal with situations and communication. Every child will deal with this growth period in different ways. Don’t label your kid as good, bad or different just pay attention so you know if they are in over their heads with something.Today if a teen can tap into their emotions and understands what pushes their buttons, it can really help them and their parents understand each other better. Open communication is a priority. Teens are often dealing with issues like:· Pressures of maintaining good grades in school and getting into college· Living up to very high expectations from society and family members· Gang violence· Drugs and alcohol· Opposite sex relationships and sexual activity· Violence and/or bullying in school· Abuse – sexual, physical, mental· Economy. If they know their parents are stressed about money that stress flows onto them.· And so much moreSome of these things may be familiar. They are stress factors that teens have been challenged with from generation to generation. The economy can be very tough. It’s something that some parents have to deal with. When parents lose jobs and can’t put food on the table or a roof over their family’s head that directly affects their children.When a child reaches their teen years, they start to change. Girls have hormone changes, boys go through puberty and at times parents might want to scream and shout and they think only their kids are like this. Not so! Most parents have to deal with this at some time or other during their children’s teen years.Teenagers often have no idea how to handle their feelings so they get angry, talk back to their parents and sometimes lash out in any way they can. It could manifest as shouting matches with parents, hanging out with the wrong crowd at school, using drugs or alcohol or sinking into depression.Never let yourself think that these things cannot happen to your child. There is no socio-economic difference when it comes to any kind of addiction. In fact often if parents have more money it’s worse because it’s easier for the teen to buy what they want.Any one of these challenges can be a ticking time bomb, so it’s important for parents to learn how to communicate without shouting or threats or abuse of any kind. There are no hard and fast rules for dealing with a stressed teenager but for the welfare of the teen it is really important for the parent to educate themselves on how to deal with situations.The main goal is to help them find ways to understand and deal with stress in healthy way so it doesn’t impact their health or their future. A few of them are:· Keep the lines of communication open no matter what the subject· Learn how not to overreact to negative situations· Have family fun time-see a movie, go out for coffee, go shopping· Make a point of having at least one meal a week with the whole familyresent.· Get the teenager to talk to a counselor· Parents too can benefit from talking to a professional· Be aware of physical and personality changes in your teenStress doesn’t affect your teen overnight and it doesn’t necessarily affect every teenager the same way. It’s really important to have open communication and to stay interested so you can quickly see if changes occur that can indicate anxiety and stress.As a parent or caregiver, it’s important for you to learn coping skills with children of any age so that your life is not lived like a nightmare during the challenging teen years.