How to recognize stress in adolescents
Which behavior should cause concern?
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Unfortunately, even if your child says they’re okay, that may not always be the case. It is important to recognize the signs of stress in a child quickly in order to respond to them, support them and provide psychological comfort. Signs of stress vary depending on age.
⚠️ The following symptoms are common among adolescents:
🔹 somatic (bodily) reactions to critical events that are manifested in physical symptoms (abdominal pain, headaches, lethargy, etc.)
🔹 sleep problems, nightmares
🔹 hyperexcitability or, vice versa, apathy
🔹 memory impairment, forgetfulness
🔹 hair twirling, biting nails (so-called compulsions), coughing, shaky hands
🔹 attempts to distance themselves from parents, avoidance of communication, isolation
🔹 poor sleep and nightmares, resulting in daytime drowsiness and weakness
🔹 risky behavior (for example, attempts to join the territorial defense; devaluation of adult efforts to ensure safety, in particular, the refusal to evacuate or go to the shelter, walking in dangerous areas, etc.)
🔹 neglect of their usual responsibilities
🔹 outbursts of anger, aggressive behavior, in particular towards close adults
🔹 refusal to eat
Remember: adolescents usually keep their feelings to themselves, which can lead to depression. They may also pretend that "everything is fine'' when it is not, and they may be in a bad place, psychologically. But your undivided attention, appropriate jokes, conversations about emotions and feelings (above all, talk about yourself and do not force the child to speak), words of inspiration or touch — with the teen’s consent — have a supporting effect and give the child a sense of unity with "their" security and safety.