Empowering Our Students to Begin Managing Their STRESS

Julie Laing and Bill Christy


So school has finally begun again and things are as “normal” as they are going to get for the moment. Schoolwork, social interactions, and big transitions have suddenly been thrust upon these kids who have had their lives disrupted for the last 7 months. All of these things often lead to the same place—STRESS! Stress is a normal and natural part of our human experience, however, learning how to effectively manage our own stress is a lifelong endeavor. Why? Because it’s HARD! It’s much easier to retreat into Netflix, watch 1,000 adorable cat videos, or simply avoid the thing that is causing you stress and pretend like it’s not happening. What then winds up happening is that the stressful situation doesn’t go away, but rather builds as the avoidant behaviors build until...BOOM! It all comes crashing in.

While all of us at Solebury are ready and available to help with the things that our students find stressful, we also want our students to become their own best advocates. Ideally, we’d like our students to begin learning how to manage their own stress rather than avoid or have any of us “save” them. However, as I said, it is a skill that is built over a lifetime so we definitely don’t expect perfection and neither should you.

That being said, it is important that they begin to develop these skills now. To that end, here is a link to a site that helps teens build their own stress management plans. I have used this with some students in the past and they have found it beneficial. More importantly, they have felt empowered by the chance to take their stress levels into their own hands and examine ways to reduce and redirect the stress they are feeling. I encourage you to share this with your student. It’s possible that opening up this discussion can build a bridge to further discussion and understanding. Maybe they won’t be open to the discussion at this moment but putting this on their radars could be something they tuck away for later. Either way, it’s a conversation worth having and somewhere inside of them, I think your kids will be grateful that you’re acknowledging that their lives are stressful—because they are!

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please know that we are available to listen and help navigate these tricky moments!