Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Teenagers & Stress

This time I'm talking about their stress not ours.

My fifteen year old daughter is having some symptoms that I'm having checked out by the GP and whilst we were with him he mentioned this little word that was hiding away at the back of my mind - "stress." Now I could of course be worrying about nothing here (further invesgations are to be done) but this is the thing...and maybe you can shed some light in all of your infinate wisdom on the subject as this is my first 15 year old.

There are circumstances of course. She had to move at the age of 13 and had a terrible first year when she was mercilessly bullied by 'passive aggressive' girls - there's a blog post waiting to happen.

We got through it, we put her in a private school for a couple of years to get her through her GCSE's and geographically away from the school zone she was in. She settled easily (as would normally be her style) and made friends with ease.

Since then there has been 'stuff' going on. Her dad's lost his job, need to move out of rental house and find another as owners coming back...but we try to protect her from the worries we have and she has a happy home life and is loved. She isn't telling me of worries and she has always been one to tell me everything.

But I worry. She certainly feels the pressure of academic work, not least because she basically lost a whole year and is catching up in some subjects. Yet I also wonder, if indeed stress proves to be the issue (which I now strongly suspect to be the case) how much it is part of the teen condition. I need some perpective here because things haven't been 'normal'.


  1. As the mother of three (17, 16, and 14), I have to say that stress does occur for them too! In our family, we had a number of setbacks in the last three years - cancer (middle son), father's unemployment (for 6 months) and all the consequential issues - sickness, no money, transferring schools. My husband and I were very stressed most of the time and as much as we tried to hide, shelter them from the storm, there were times when stark reality just stared back at them. Girls are different from boys and in our case, the boys (including the sick one)tended to lash out at us, showing their honest frustration, anger and hurt, but the girl (who is the youngest) was the most understanding and in a way she tried to be as "quiet" as possible, however, this is not to say that she didn't have her moments, especially when suffering from PMS - she would disappear into her room and stay there for two or three days (or it seemed like that - she ate her meals there too) - her school work suffered too and I often had to get her to pull up her socks in that area - visiting the school, talking to the teachers and telling her off for not doing her homework! We have come through the other side - my son is cancer free, my husband has a job and we have just bought a new car - a stronger family unit, nothing is forever and there are worse things in life than doing badly at school or losing a job - I think all of us are aware of that now!!

  2. I was going to pass, and maybe return when you have had replies from some of your contemporaries as my experience is so far behind me as to make it redundant. But, like a dog with a bone I can't leave well alone.

    From what I read, observe, and vaguely remember 15 is a shitty age. No longer the child that was protected by her age, and forgiven, because of her age, and who could plead ignorance, because of her age...nor yet a woman-who would, or should know all the stuff that is still a mystery to her...nevermind what her peers tell her [they know as little as she] the poor girl is in a state of becalmment [if there is such a word]
    I don't think that your home problems are the cause of her new behaviour, unless she feels in some way responsible. It is the pressure to be 'cool', clever, sporty or cynical...or whatever trait is contained in the 'pash' of the moment. It is finding her way through the jungle of school politics, where she fits, what is important. And she thinks she looks to those she wants to impress, to like her.

    Probably she is none of these things, she is well adjusted to the school, herself and her family and is just feeling her way and needs quiet time.

    God, I couldn't do it over again.
    Hope I am not out of line.

  3. As Moannie is the age we live in...stressis key to a teens lifecycle I feel...and to be aware of it shows that you ar ehalf way there...
    My advice would be, to be approachable...My 17 yr old is confiding in me, I wish she wasn't as it is atrial keeping secrets, but thats how it is..

    My husband is now putting the pressure on re school, home rules we are the heavy and the softie, hope it works...

    Seems ot me she's catching up..and that is stressful, because it makes her differnet and unless the teen is VERY strong and single minded, different isnt an attractive feature, for us yes for them its like walking through fire..

    sounds to me like you know insticntively, and stick with long as you are open I think thats all you can do for now..

    saz x