Helping Teens Manage Stress and Anxiety: Dr. Lisa Damour

There is nothing that worries parents more than the stress and anxiety our teens feel. Their pain quickly become our pain as we feel lost trying to help them through the struggles of high school.

Dr. Lisa Damour, psychologist, educator and best selling author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood and Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls reminds us it that doesn’t have to be this way. She offers us five immediately actionable things we can do to make school better for our kids.

Listen below as Dr. Damour explains how parents can help their teens navigate the high school years while reducing stress and anxiety. Here is a brief guide to her invaluable advice.

5 Ways Parents Can Help Their Teens Make School Less Stressful

  1. We have powerful and misguided misconceptions about stress, and Dr. Damour shows us what we can do to change the narrative for our kids. Reframing stress, the way she suggests, can be invaluable for us and our teens. She explains why school is actually supposed to be stressful (truly), and what teens need to know about themselves to make the stress constructive.
  2. Sleep is the single most important issue in the stress and anxiety we are seeing among our kids. Dr.Damour offers small changes that can make a huge impact in how much sleep our families get.
  3. We may wish that our kids were motivated or even fascinated by everything that happens at school and that focus and learning were effortless. But we might need to be a little more realistic. She explains how students can find motivation when it’s not easy to come by.
  4. We need to be careful about what we praise and how we convey disappointment. Doing this the right way can reduce stress for our teens.
  5. We want our kids to be happy when they grow up. We say this, and mean it, throughout their childhood but we prod our kids towards the wrong things. We need to better understand what really causes happiness in adults and share those values with our kids. Psychologists already know what makes us happy and Dr. Damour shares this with us.


From the Challenge Success website:

Responding to an increase in academic and emotional problems among kids in the United States, experts in child and adolescent well-being convened at Stanford University in July 2007 to envision a coordinated approach to helping schools and families develop alternative success models to align with research on healthy child development.

In response to this meeting, Madeline Levine, Ph.D., Jim Lobdell, M.A., and Denise Pope, Ph.D. founded Challenge Success, an expansion of the highly successful SOS (Stressed-Out Students) Project at Stanford University.Utilizing the resources of a prominent advisory board of interdisciplinary experts, the co-founders created a research-based organization that develops practical curriculum, conferences, and programs for parents, schools, and kids looking for a healthier and more effective path to success in the 21st century.

About Lisa Endlich Heffernan

Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan is the co-founder of Grown and Flown, the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author.
She started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and is co-author of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

Read more posts by Lisa

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