Back-to-School can be a stressful time for teens, especially if they are highly sensitive. Find out if your teen has the trait of high sensitivity and what the number one thing is that you can do as a parent to help them manage the stress of back-to-school time!
If you have a sensitive teen who is prone to stress and other BIG emotions, especially around back-to-school time, then this video is for you. I’m going to talk about how to set them up for success, without all the stress and overwhelm
Since last week’s video, when I talked about HSPs in general, I’ve gotten a lot of questions from parents about how to help their sensitive teens cope with back-to-school stress.
What do I mean when I say “sensitive teen”?
Here are some signs your teen might be highly sensitive:
They feel everything deeply and don’t know what to do with their BIG emotions
They tend to get overwhelmed easily by stress at school or with relationships
They withdraw/isolate when they’re overwhelmed, perhaps retreating to their room or a public bathroom to cry or regroup
They are a perfectionist or people-pleaser, and can be strongly self-critical
They are more sensitive to busy places, hot/cold temperatures, scratchy fabrics or tags, loud noises, or smells than others
They may struggle with changes/transitions and making decisions (especially if there is time pressure)
They need alone time to decompress after a long or busy day
They take things personally and often end up with hurt feelings
They frequently feel worried, anxious, depressed or emotionally exhausted and don’t know how to cope
Parenting a Highly Sensitive Teen Can Be Challenging Sometimes
Being the parent of a sensitive teen can sometimes feel challenging, because you might not know how best to support your teen when they struggle, isolate or shut down from stress.
Teens aren’t as aware of what’s going on in their bodies and minds as adults are so it’s often harder for them to articulate things like overwhelm, or what they need in a given moment. They might complain of a headache, stomachache, or just say “I’m tired”
The number one thing that sensitive teens need to know is that it’s okay to have their feelings and that their emotions are welcome. If they don’t feel as though their sensitivity will be well received, they may try to suppress it and act tough (this is especially true for boys). This only cuts them off from their emotions, which will build up anyway and come out sideways somewhere later.
The best thing you, as a parent, can do for your sensitive teen is to make space for and help them articulate their emotions, rather than bottle them up.
What If My Teen Won’t Talk To Me?
If your teen struggles with this and then isolates or won’t talk to you, then support and connection with like-minded peers might help them feel less alone. Check out the Teen Support & Skills Group page. In group I create a supportive community for highly sensitive teens to meet and connect with each other.
I use a variety of research-based techniques, like Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and nature-based therapy to teach teens the skills they need to manage stress and big emotions so they don’t lead to overwhelm, anxiety, and depression.
Enrollment will be opening soon, so if you want to be the first to know when it does so you don’t miss your chance to apply for a spot in group, fill out an interest form by clicking the button below to get on the wait list.