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September 8, 2009
Stress-free School Days
The beginning of a new school year is always exciting - but can also be fraught with worry and stress. From finding people to sit with at lunch to mastering a new schedule, and balancing homework, jobs and school activities, September can be a tough time for teens. According to a recent survey, 43 percent of 13- to 14-year-olds say they feel stressed every single day; by ages 15 to 17, the number rises to 59 percent. A certain amount of stress can be helpful as a way of keeping your teen motivated. But too much or too little may render them ineffective and interfere with their relationships at home and at school, as well as their physical health. Without having learned proper coping mechanisms, many teens find their own ways to deal with stress, sometimes taking on risky behaviors.
Learn how to help your teen cope with stress.
Battling peer pressure
While the pressures teens deal with today are very different from those you may have faced, parents can still be a part of the solution. Talk to your kids, listen to their point-of-view, and offer tips on managing everyday pressures. Teenage girls can be especially vulnerable to peer pressure, as they are more subject to low self-esteem and body-image issues. Maximize your time together to help teach healthy habits and learn "What Parents Can Do" to combat these pressures.
 SADD, Unpublished data from Teens Today survey.
Help your teens cope with school-related stress:
1. Recognize when teens are stressed out. Ensure they are getting adequate rest, eating well-balanced meals, and taking breaks to restore energy.
2. Introduce positive coping strategies to your teen. Talk about ways to introduce balance in their lives like exercising, getting enough sleep, listening to music, writing in a journal, and keeping a healthy diet.
3. Set a good example. Young people often pick up their coping strategies by watching their parents. If a child sees a parent drink an alcoholic beverage or smoke a cigarette every time they are overwhelmed, they are more likely to imitate the same behavior.
Learn how to be a good role model for your teen.
Back-to-school 101: How can parents stay informed and involved?
Educator, consultant, and psychologist Arthur Pober shares his view on what parents can do to impact their children's success in school.
Read expert advice on "Safeguarding and Monitoring"your teens to learn how to help keep them drug-free.
Looking for FREE anti-drug information? Check out all of TheAntiDrug.com's Parent Resources>>
Click through TheAntiDrug.com's Back to School Toolkit, which includes tips, e-guides, a parent-teen driving contract, and more.