Top Stressors for Tweens

You might be surprised by what's stressing your tween out

If your child is stressed, you need to take action. Photo:

 It's not easy being a tween, and today's kids often suffer from emotional or anxiety issues. If your tween has been down in the dumps, or has seemed a bit stressed lately it's time to find out what's bother him. Below are a few likely stressors that tweens might experience. Make sure you pay attention to any subtle and not-so-subtle clues your child might be sending about what his stressors might be.


What Stressing Out Your Tween?

Puberty: You may not remember going through puberty, but chances are it wasn't all fun and games. Puberty can make even confident tweens feel insecure and awkward. If your child is beginning the stages of puberty, the changes might be stressing her out. Information can help your child understand that everybody goes through puberty, and that it's temporary and perfectly normal. The more your tween knows and understands, the less he'll worry about the changes he's experiencing. 

Friendships Problems: If your child's circle of friends seems to be changing, or if you notice old friends dropping off the radar, you might want to ask if your tween is experiencing friendship problems. Friendships can be tested during the middle school years, and even strong friendships don't always survive these difficult years. Pay attention to your tween's relationships, and try to help your child make friends both in school, and in other places, such as at church, through sports, or in your neighborhood.


Academic Challenges: School can be a stressful place and your tween may be facing problems during the school day that you don't know about. If your child's grades are dropping, or if you tween is reluctant to go to school he may be having trouble keeping up with his studies. Check in with your tween's school progress weekly in order to catch potential problems early, and prevent major problems from developing.

A little tutoring or a meeting with his teachers might be all that's needed to get him back on track academically.

Family Problems: Your tween might be stressed out due to family problems. Divorce, job layoffs, a death in the family or a host of other problems could have turned your child's life upside down. Be sure your child knows he can talk to you about what's bothering him, and be sure to try to keep your child's schedule as normal as is possible. Severe problems might require the expertise of a therapist or your child's school counselor. 

Relational Aggression: Relational aggression, or bullying, tends to peak during the tween years. Girls and boys are both vulnerable to bullies, and children can even be bullied by their friends or others in their social circle. Bullying isn't always easy to spot, and your child may not even want to admit that it's a problem. But it's important for adults to intervene if they think bullying is a problem, and if necessary, to get other adults including teachers, coaches or counselors involved to put a stop to the behavior.


Boyfriends/Girlfriends: If your tween has started dating, don't be surprised if drama follows. Boyfriends and girlfriends can cause a lot of stress, especially for a young person who isn't yet ready to handle such emotions. Encourage your child to delay dating, if possible, and in the meantime help your tween develop social skills, and learn how to handle his emotions, and avoid unnecessary drama and conflict. 

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