Academic Stress

Academic stress is a significant factor for the compounding problem of teen mental health. Teenager’s mental health, which has continued to worsen steadily over the last few decades, but especially in the pandemic, is an important part of their overall mental health. The pressure on teens is increasing. Not only do they have to deal with their hormones, they also have to deal with their homework and other stressors.  Middle school and high school come with more responsibility and at a time when teens are experiencing growth spurts, mood swings, and an overall sense of confusion. It can be really hard to find that “happy medium” in between everything that is going on in the teenager’s life..

Categories of Academic Stress

When considering academic stress, teens normally fit into one of the three following categories:


Type 1

Some students will not get all As. It is perfectly normal for students to not get all As. In fact, plumbers, mechanics and small business owners can make a good living without them. It is important to note that grades are not the most important thing in life. If a child knows they will not do well, it is important to encourage them to try their hardest for the sake of learning and not for the fear of getting a bad grade.  Encourage your child to have fun and be happy no matter what grade they earn.  In these instances, it’s a better idea to focus on giving 100% effort no matter what, practicing organization skills and practicing resilience in the face of perceived failure.


Type 2

On the other hand, there are students who are under-performing. There are students who are not doing well and simply choose not to do their homework — which is most often the reason for their low grades. Students test well, but homework is “eaten by the dog” or “lost on the computer”. Also, just because children are bright does not mean that they automatically have the organizational skills necessary to keep up with all their assignments.

If your child is having academic stress, you should seek help long before report cards come out. If your child is having academic stress, it’s important to be approachable and accessible for your children, as well as eager and willing to help them with anything they may need help with, including their organizational skills. Academic stress can also come from children knowing they are not meeting standards.


Type 3

The over-achieving type.  This type puts an emphasis on perfectionism and getting all As.  This can show up as a positive but in many instances is incredibly stressful and can lead to its own list of issues for these teens.  While parents often pressure their children to be successful, these types are either pressured too much or are internally pressuring themselves.  This type could learn to relax a bit and know that there’s more to life than just getting an A.  Encourage participation in the arts, hobbies, and connecting with friends.

The different types all have different motivations, goals, and stressors.  Understanding what type you or your teen are can help you to move forward in the best possible way.  Each type has their strengths and weaknesses.  Knowing the type of your teen can also be a great way to help parents help their teenagers..  


Tips for dealing with academic stress

It is very important for teens and their parents to keep the big picture in mind.  No one will ask about your high school grades later in life.  Many adolescents will figure out how to be successful on their own timeline.  Even a teen who only makes “C’s” in high school can still go to a local community college when they’re ready, transfer to any school they choose and build a successful career on their own timeline.

Here are some other tips that could be helpful for teens dealing with academic stress:

  • Working out regularly or becoming a member of a sports team
  • Eating well
  • Sleep routine
  • No electronics right before bed
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • A sober lifestyle
  • Meditation or other relaxation techniques
  • Decrease negative self-talk and/r self-sabotaging behaviors
  • Build coping skills and strategies
  • Taking up hobbies
  • Taking part in after school activities


Being a parent of a teen dealing with academic stress

When you are a parent you want to do your best to reduce stress for your children, even academic stress.  In this capacity though, academic stress is a very individual stressor that can be hard for parents to help with.  This can make parents feel powerless or unable to help their children to build the coping skills needed to combat this stress.  Asking for help is a perfectly acceptable way to help your teenagers to succeed.  Seeing a therapist is a part of many successful people’s health strategies and has been found to help cope with all forms of stress, including academic stress.  It’s also never too soon to put your mental health as a priority and even therapy for teens has been shown to be incredibly effective for stress management.


The importance of mental health for teens

Teens also experience stress. They are also vulnerable to stress in their daily life. Many go through daily life with a constant sense of anxiety. It’s not just about bad grades or crazy hormones. Teens can experience stress due to a number of factors, including their physical appearance, self-doubt, peer pressure, financial issues, negative thoughts, self-sabotaging, and more. Anxiety is the feeling you get when you think something is dangerous. Teenagers can manage stress and anxiety by developing certain skills like stress management and other coping mechanisms.

Working with a Silver Lake Psychology therapist can be an effective way to learn strategies, deal with stress, and be another outlet for the teen to receive help!  The stigma surrounding mental health, especially that for teens, isn’t what it used to be and many teens can benefit from improving their mental health!


Finding the right therapist

When encountering academic stress, it’s important to find the right therapist.  Due to all of the outward and intrinsic stress that your teen may be experiencing, it’s important to find a specialist.  The therapists at Silver Lake Psychology have dozens of specialties and with hundreds of therapists we know that you’ll find the ideal therapist to help, no matter what you or your teen are experiencing.

We use our Mindful Matching process to learn more about you, your needs, your preferences, your insurance stipulation, and your availability.  We’ll find the ideal therapist to meet your needs.  If it’s not an ideal fit, no worries!  Just let us know and we can match you with one of our other therapist specialists.  We’ll ensure that you have the best chance of success.

man experiencing academic stress