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The early teen years are when teens bodies and their cognitive and emotional processes go through a lot of change.
Kids are seeing high demand in school at earlier ages. They bring home book bags of 20-pound books and eight hours of homework every night; so the stress is starting earlier and earlier.
Like healthy relationships, you have to model good stress behavior; what stresses out a teen may not be the same thing that stresses out a parent. A parent may look in on this and say, "This is such a small thing, why are you stressed out about it?"
Signs that a teen is overwhelmed include:
Increased complaints of headaches, stomachaches and muscle pain
Increased irritability, lashing out
Changes in sleep and eating behaviors
The best way to help them is just to listen. You may not be able to relate to what they're going through, but they need someone to talk to. If you feel that their stress is having a negative impact on their physical or emotional health, bring them to a physician.