Below is a list of stressors that a group of high school students cited as causing them the most stress. It would be really interesting if you asked your teen what things on this list caused them to stress. You might find out some information you didn't know. Teens are not always good at articulating what's bothering them, especially boys. Asking them to tell you what's wrong when you see a long face, or when you get a snarky response to a simple question almost always is answered with a loud "NOTHING JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!" This list at least provides them with some options. You can introduce this by saying: " I just read this list of things that teens stress out about, I'm really interested to see what you think about this list and whether these are things that are hard for you too."
Perhaps you will find out something new. Beware of falling into the parent fix-it mode. As in "wow, I didn't know that this was a problem, how about if I..., or how about if you......." Your teen will not like that, and will shut you down so fast your head will spin. Certainly respond, but with a: "Wow, you are carrying around a lot stuff, that must get really hard sometimes. I didn't realize that X was an issue. Do you want to talk about it? or can I help in any way?" And them just leave it be if they don't want to get into with you. At least now you have some new information, and every now and then you can ask them: " so how's it going with X, you mentioned a few weeks ago that it was really stressing you out? Anything I can do to help?"
You can't always get your teen to talk but at least they'll know that you'll listen.
Here's the list:
Academic Rigors (including Homework, Tests, etc.)
Sports (including school, town and club)
Sports Fees (including uniforms, banquet, senior gifts, etc.)
Extra-curricular Activities (including drama, chorus, clubs, etc.)
Lack of Study/Organizational Skills
Teachers who do not provide a syllabus
College - Demands of the Process and Stress of Outcomes
Relationships (including family, friends, boyfriend, and teachers)
Health Issues (including sports injuries)
Loss of Home
Internet/Cell Phone/ 24/7 Connectedness
Family Member Illness
Elderly Relative Caretaking
Getting Driver’s License—can’t do HW or sleep in the car anymore
Parent’s (Unrealistic) ExpectationsStudent’s (Unrealistic) Expectations