As a parent, I wanted to do everything I could to protect my son from stress. I tried to intervene and solve his problems for him, but that ended up causing more problems, and he didn’t learn how to deal with issues himself. Instead, I tried a different approach—teaching him to adjust his attitude and learn how to use stress to his advantage. After all, I didn’t want him to self-medicate with alcohol, drugs or food later in life.

Practical Ways to Deal with Stress

Learning positive self-talk taught my son that even when I wasn’t around to encourage him, he could switch his frame of mind by using the following

  • prayer/ meditation
  • inspirational music
  • uplifting reading material
  • talking through problems with family or friends
  • reminding himself that the stressful situation is temporary

Effectively Reducing Stress

  • Sleep eight hours– Teens need at least eight hours of sleep per night since their bodies are growing and changing. When my son didn’t sleep enough, he couldn’t properly deal with stress .
  • Model effective stress management– I taught my son how to manage stress by showing him that I could relax and take a break when I needed to. He watched what I did and learned how to cope.
  • Enjoy fun time to play– While play includes exercise , just spending time without pressure from the clock helped my son relax and unwind. A family walk, tossing a football at the park and enjoying a hike all provide options that combine family time, play and healthy exercise .
  • Balance the schedule– While kids are often over-scheduled, an empty schedule invites trouble. I didn’t want my son to be bored, looking for damaging ways to fill his time . Furthermore, he will find that life doesn’t always happen on an even pace, so he will need to learn to juggle multiple commitments. Some pressure benefits him as long as he knows it’s only temporary.
  • Coping with mistakes– While I wanted to help my son avoid mistakes, I also needed to teach him how to overcome mistakes instead of staying stuck there.

The Benefits of Stress

As long as it’s not chronic or overwhelming, I taught my son that stress actually benefits him in the following ways:

  • By motivating him– When I have a deadline at work—or if my son has a big project due at school—the pressure drives us to accomplish our goals. I have taught him that this isn’t a roadblock but a challenge for him to navigate.
  • By teaching resilience– By learning to handle minor stressors, I taught my son to prepare for greater challenges as they arise. A study based out of the University of California San Francisco confirmed this—chronic stress hurts our DNA while moderate stress protects us and increases resilience.
  • By boosting immunity– Mild stress also increases various types of immune cells in the blood stream, which reduces the risk of damage from infection or injury.
  • By increasing brainpower– Exercise and similar stressors help concentration and overall productivity and might even improve learning and memory.

The proper management of stress helped me prepare my son for greater success in the future.

Author's Bio: 

Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and writer, with experience as a content writer and outreach coordinator for HelpYourTeenNow . Tyler has offered honest advice and humor to struggling parents and teens. Tyler has researched and written on education problems, varying disorders, the world of social media, addiction, and pressing issues about raising teens today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn