How Do You Identify Signs Of Stress In Kids And Teens?

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Children and teenagers are also prone to stress. In children, bed wetting, nightmares, stomach aches, anxiety, being clingy, crying, stubbornness and poor academic performance are indicative of stress. Teenagers might experience nervousness, anxiety, procrastination, negligence, sleep disturbances, lack of concentration and eating disorders.

What Is Stress?

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. When we undergo stressful situations, our bodies react by releasing certain chemicals into the blood. These chemicals are responsible for lending strength or energy. This energy is useful if there is an impending physical danger. However, it can be a negative thing when the situation is extremely emotional as there may not be opportunities to vent the built-up energy.

Teen Stress and Adult Stress

A 2013 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) deduced that stress is extremely common among teenagers. Common reasons for stress among teenagers are:

  • The pressure to perform well at high school/grades
  • Meeting expectations from parents and teachers
  • Interpersonal relationships/dating/social life pressures
  • Body image
  • Peer pressure

When teenagers feel pressured, they undergo stress. This stress manifests into certain symptoms such as nervousness, anxiety, procrastination, negligence, sleep disturbances, lack of concentration and eating disorders.

According to a study conducted by the APA, there were similar patterns of stressful behaviors exhibited by teens and adults alike, especially during the school year. But there is not much evidence if teen stress translates to adult stress. Chronic teen stress may have implications in adult life but there is no evidence for the same. Some of the common reasons for adult stress narrow down to work-related stress, financial  worries such housing, rent, mortgage, children, family responsibilities, health concerns,  health problems affecting spouse or children and societal-pressure.

Identifying Stress Among Children

It is imperative that adults don’t overlook stress among children. Children are prone to stress just as much as teens and adults.  It is believed that a series of stressful events can inflict illness among children. Situations that are of a severe magnitude – such as deaths in the family or even something trivial at school can trigger stress.

However, these situations can affect a child’s psychological and physical health. Symptoms for psychological and physical stress include bed wetting, nightmares, stomach aches, anxiety, being clingy, crying, stubbornness, lack of interest in school-based activities, poor academic performance, aggression, worrying and recurring fears.

Dealing/Coping With Stress

Stress has always received a bad rap in the world of psychological health. However, not all stress is bad. Stress inflicted by coaches and teachers in the form of positive reinforcement can also result in motivation among children to excel in academics, games and other extra curricular activities. It is only a matter of concern when stress manifests itself into unexplainable physical symptoms.


While stress is inevitable during adolescence and adulthood, one must find ways to cope with stress. This can be done either via counselling or by sharing his/her feelings with an adult who is willing to listen. If stress is accumulated, it can lead to depression and other deplorable consequences.