Is Your Teen Stressed Out?

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It's easy to forget just how tough the teen years can be. Studies show that parents tend to underestimate how much stress their kids face and they don't understand what's causing it. In fact, it can be easy to miss signs of stress all together.

Here's some common signs that your child may be stressed-- acting out, not talking, headaches and stomach aches, eating too much or too little, and sleeping poorly.

But you can help relieve that stress with a few steps.

First, talk with your teen, ask what's wrong, and make sure you listen to what they say. Real communication is so important. If they aren't talking to you, ask a close family member to try. Treat the cause. Homework stress should be handled differently from stress caused by bullying.

Make sure they're getting enough sleep. Teens need 8 and 1/2 to nine hours every night.

Get them moving. Physical activity burns stress as well as calories. They don't have to go for a run. How about sports or swimming, even yoga?

On top of their busy schedule, make sure they have some down time. What does your kid enjoy, music movies, painting? These activities will help calm your teen, and if you join them in an activity, it can strengthen your bond, maybe even relieve some of your own stress.

For WebMD, I'm Dr. Michael Smith.