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Helping Teenagers Embrace Stress

Here are a few tips that might be helpful as you evaluate how best to support your student as stress levels rise.

Matt Levinson, Head of School

Now that we are several weeks into the school year, you will notice an uptick in the amount of school work your student is doing, and you will also see stress levels rise as your student juggles schoolwork, extracurricular activities and friendships. We work hard at UPrep to provide guidance on stress to students through our Social and Emotional Learning program and annual Wellness Day.

Here are a few tips that might be helpful as you evaluate how best to support your student. It’s useful to think of three zones: in the first zone, your student is comfortable; in the second zone, your student experiences stretch; in the third zone, your student feels stress. We want students to learn to live in all three zones and to never stay too long in one zone.

A healthy place to be is for your student to move across the three zones and recognize when and how to move to a new zone. Sometimes, your student will need the help of a trusted adult. This might be your student’s advisor. It could be a classroom teacher; or a counselor; or a coach. And it might even be you, though often teens need another adult who is not their parent or guardian to help them work through feelings of discomfort as they traverse the stretch and stress zones.

School psychologist Lisa D’Amour writes: “healthy stress is inevitable when we operate at the edge of our abilities. Stretching beyond familiar limits doesn’t always feel good, but growing and learning — the keys to school and much of life — can’t happen any other way.” You might enjoy reading her recent article, How To Help Teenagers Embrace Stress. 

Our school counselor Lindsay Metcalfe has written an article for Prep Talk on how it is also important for your student to establish regular downtime, and I encourage you to check it out.

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