What Teenagers Should Do When Dealing With Distressed Parents?

Stress can affect each of us. Even babies and little children are affected by stress. It is a sure thing that teenagers are, while adults are no exception. As a matter of fact, it’s extremely rare to find an adult who is not stressed out in one way or another. So, while it is unlikely for adults to approach teenagers and ask them for help, you could be in a situation in which you are frequent contacts with adults experiencing stress-related issues.

If the affected adults are your parents, you need to understand that what happens to one person in a house could affect the rest of the house, as well. If your dad is frustrated by his job, chances are that your mom and everyone can be affected. If your mom seems to be irritable, or constantly yell at you, or neglect tasks she often performs, you might get home and find your home was a mess and there was nothing on the dining table to eat because she was too overwhelmed by her own feeling to clean up and cook.

Because, your dad didn’t understand what was going on, he might react with anger or frustration, telling your mom to “Pull yourself together” and “Come on! Just snap out of it”. Unfortunately, there was nothing that your mom could do, she was simply unable to overcome her stress and return to her daily chores.

Watching parents or other adults struggle with stress is often frustrating, scary and very likely to bring up you “own version” of stress. As a teen, you might be aware of how adults experience emotional problems on a daily basis. Their problems are usually different than what affect teens, and they generally encounter things that you haven’t had the opportunity or the capability to deal with yet. Even so, you might somehow expect that adults, especially your parents need to control their emotional problems to allow you live trouble- and stress-free.

Since the problems of your parents are likely to have some effects on your family in a bad manner, it is important that your parents know how you are feeling. This shouldn’t be done in an accusatory or confrontational manner; it’s imprudent to say “You’re making us miserable” or “I no longer can stand the way we’ve been lately.” Instead, try to say something nicer like “Dad/mom I’ve been worried about how you feel lately, and is there anything I can to help you”.

That sort of verbal expression lets your parents know that you are attentive to what happen in the house and are willing to help. Then you need to explain to your parents that their behaviors are having an effect on your life and your siblings, and that you are concerned about what could happen in the future. You need to be aware that parents sometimes react and talk differently when they are struggling or upset than they’d under normal situations. If your mom responds to your approach by getting angry, you need to understand that it is her emotional problems that are causing her to behave like this, it doesn’t mean that she no longer loves you.

If it seems impractical get any resolution or satisfaction from trying to communicate with your parent, you should to find other adults you can trust, like grandparents, aunt, or uncle, who, in turn, would talk to your parents.

It’s necessary, however, to know that you are not the exact cause of your parents’ problems. If you feel clueless and no one can give a better advice, the least you can do is to express your concern and suggest them to seek some helps. You may also need to help out your mom by picking up some house chores and offering support to younger siblings.

Caregiving is very difficult. People who continuously provide care for sick people for a long period of time often suffer depressions, burned out, and often become ill themselves. Even when you’re not offering hands-on care, by just living with an emotionally distressed, can be wearing, stressful, and demanding. If you’re living with distressed parents, keep these tips in mind:

• Don’t try to solve everything by yourself. As much as you would like to help your parents feel better, you simply can’t do everything by yourself, often external helps are needed. You shouldn’t beat yourself up if parents don’t seem to respond they way you’d like. Chances are, quietly they appreciate and grateful for your efforts.

• Ask for help. If you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, ask others for help or advice. This is not a sign of failure, often you need to express your feelings to someone you can trust. As a matter of fact, seeking for help in a tough situation is a sign of being smart, responsible and mature.

• Look after yourself. Even when you are very concerned or worried about your parents, you should have the time to take care of yourself and occasionally, detach yourself from the recurring situations. If you’re helping parents through a bad time, you shouldn’t do so at the expense of school and other important activities. If you’re helping parents, remember that you are a teen and you still have the right to your enjoy life and hang out with friends. You shouldn’t avoid guilt by excessively sacrificing yourself and ignoring your well-being. Try to get enough sleep, eat well and allocate enough time for relaxation and fun.

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