Helping Kids & Teens Manage Their Stress

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

There’s no one way to describe what stress looks or feels like for a child. Often kids don’t have the words to describe how they’re feeling, and so stress can manifest as many emotions or reactions that we may not assume are attributed to being stressed.

Being overloaded with stress or not knowing how to manage it can cause kids and teens to become anxious, withdrawn, aggressive, ill, or develop poor coping skills.

Audience Questions

Dr. Lisa Coyne shares ways to identify stress in kids of all ages, explains common sources of stress both in and out of the home, and provides tips and tricks for lowering stress levels that all members of the family can benefit from.

  • What are some key things we should know about stress and anxiety in young people?
  • What is the difference between stress and anxiety?
  • How can we identify an unhealthy level of stress in a young person?
  • What are some key things that we should be looking for that might be signs of excessive stress or anxiety?
  • As a therapist, should you disclose how you are feeling as a way to encourage a child to open up to you?
  • As a parent, how do you open up without leaving a young person feeling responsible (i.e. responsible for the stressful situation, the parent’s feelings) and stressed?
  • Do you have any tips for parents, educators, or clinicians on working with closed-off young people?
  • As a clinician, have you seen a technique such as modeling pay off a couple of sessions later when working with a closed-off young person?
  • Do you have any tips for teens on how to manage stress around exams and college?
  • Do you have any suggestions for speaking with a teacher or school administrator about a student’s stress level?
  • If a young person is struggling, what can we do to help them cope in the moment?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


You might also find this information useful:

About Dr. Coyne

Lisa W. Coyne, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, part-time, at Harvard Medical School, and is a senior clinical consultant at the Child and Adolescent OCD Institute (OCDI Jr.) at McLean Hospital.

Dr. Coyne has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters on anxiety, OCD, and parenting. She is the author of “The Joy of Parenting: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Effective Parenting in the Early Years,” a book for parents of young children.

Recent books by Dr. Coyne:

Learn more about Dr. Coyne.

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Originally aired November 3, 2022