(Inside: Help teens manage their stress with this realization. It’s harder now for teens to shake stress, but this one simple trick can help.)
“Big kids have a harder time nowadays shaking off the stress of their day.”
My school counselor friend paused before she went on.
“Their phone is a constant reminder of their stressors. Grades. Peer pressure. How their outfit wasn’t quite right. Who threw shade their way. When we were teens, we could go home and, after a few hours, forget about our day. But now, every time kids now open their phones they are reminded late into the night.”
A few days later, I felt what she meant deep into my soul, and it was not pretty.
You know how in mom life, we make a million mistakes, and you can shake most off (even big ones that matter), but then something dumb happens, and it plagues you?
That’s where I was at.
On the last day of school, the junior class wore matching senior t-shirts to celebrate their new role but not my son: I forgot to order his senior t-shirt.
Because momma couldn’t get her stuff together.
He told me he didn’t care. It was fine.
But the failure came after a slew of mom mishaps that I was annoyed at myself over and – even though in the grand scheme of life it didn’t matter – it still ate at my insides. I mean, how hard is it to autofill name, address, size, payment info, and press submit? In seconds, done.
And because it was the perfect storm of emotions and situations, I couldn’t let it go.
That evening, each time I opened my phone, I saw another mom post her kid, smiling and happy, in that SENIOR t-shirt.
Boom. This mom stays on top of all the school emails.
*Smiling senior picture.*
Boom. This mom raised a more outgoing kid who had the inside scoop and reminded her to order the t-shirt.
*Smiling senior picture.*
Boom. This mom wasn’t watching the documentary about missing flight MH370 and was actually taking care of responsibilities.
Again, and again.
Emotions reigned. This is his ONLY senior year. He doesn’t get it again.
This failure grew in my mind until it felt like my kid was PURPOSEFULLY left out, not even the last one picked, PE-lineup-style. (My brain really loves to spin the didn’t-happen-but-could-worst for me to ponder. It’s so fun.)
Then, I remembered what that counselor said. You can’t shake off your day when your phone is staring at you chanting THIS IS WHAT WENT WRONG.
So, just no, I put that sucker upstairs for the rest of the night.
And hours later, I felt better. Yes, it was a bummer, but also, like my son said, okay.
Y’all, our kids can experience some real panic and anxiety because of their phones. I felt every pain, and it was sharp and real. It wasn’t until I put my screen away that perspective came.
So, yes, teens have a harder time shaking off their day. But we have a tool to calm the thunderstorm of emotions and find perspective. We know how to help their brains settle, hearts steady, and peace unfold.
Screens are ignored and they touch grass.
80s and 90s style.
Helping teens with stress includes building good relationships with them so they feel comfortable talking to you. These conversation starters can help.
Help teens shake daily stress and more topics. Join this community of moms raising teens…
Your brain bounces between your day at work, what time(s) your kids need to be at practice, your teen’s missing school assignments, that you haven’t called your mom lately, the load of the laundry to be switched, “What’s for dinner?” and “Why are 3 of my brain-tabs frozen?”
You are raising tweens and teens and college-age kids – the unique parenting phase where everything gets easier…and harder.
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Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.