If you’re a parent, your life is centered around your children. Since day one, you’ve helped them handle every challenge that has come their way. And as your kids get older, the challenges they face will become more difficult, more personally defining, and more grown up. If you’ve got a teenager, you already know this. Your child’s journey to adulthood has begun—complete with the stressors that come along with more schoolwork, making deeper friendships, and a whole new level of peer pressure. It’s an exciting yet frustrating time for your teen— and for you as a parent. Your son or daughter is becoming more independent and perhaps more introspective and less open to conversation. What can you do to help your child manage their stress if opening up to you is more difficult now than it was before?

A hot tub may help. The warm and relaxing environment of a spa is a no-distraction zone. A hot tub isn’t a place for texting or phone calls. Instead, it’s a perfect and natural setting for reconnecting with your teen, for discovering what’s happening at school and with friends, and for taking advantage of the hydrotherapy benefits that can provide stress relief.

Recognizing Stress in Teens

A hot tub is a great place to have a long conversation with your teen about stressors.

Your teen probably has a lot more going on than you did at the same age. Not only does he or she have school, homework, extracurricular activities, and the social anxieties teenagers have always had to deal with, they also live with round-the-clock access to social networks and endless other digital distractions. You know how overwhelming it can be, but do you know that teens are even more susceptible to these stressors than their parents? Moreover, your teen might be reluctant to take a break from it all.

It can be difficult to distinguish teenage stress from typical adolescent crankiness and teenage testing of boundaries. A young adult who is feeling stressed out may demonstrate it in different ways, such as eating too much or too little or speaking negatively about him/herself, perhaps in the vein of “nobody likes me.”

Trouble sleeping may be another sign of stress, as might acting out outside the home. You may not realize that anything is wrong until you receive a call from a teacher or another parent.

Parents of course want to help their teenagers manage stress early, but getting teens to talk openly and provide meaningful responses to questions can be a challenge. Your adolescent may resist any effort to engage in conversation. A knock on the bedroom door can seem like an intrusion and questions you ask at the dinner table might feel like an interrogation.

Once you recognize the signs of stress, it’s time to approach your teen in a trusting, thoughtful way.

Stress Management for Teens Requires Respectful Conversations

Stress management for teens requires patience and respect.

Parents often struggle to find ways to communicate with their children, but with patience, meaningful conversations are possible. The most successful conversations are those in which you and your teen feel heard and fairly treated. Keep the following tips in mind when talking to your teen:

  • Keep your points concise. No one wants to take part in a conversation that’s one-sided and rambling. Teenagers, especially, will tune out. So, consider what you’d like to say before you say it, and then communicate your message concisely.
  • Avoid nagging or repeatedly complaining about one thing. Like you, your teen has a lot going on. Make a request once and then give your child time to process it before repeating yourself.
  • Avoid guilting or shaming your child. Parenting is hard and your teen knows how to push your buttons. But don’t let your own frustration get the best of you. Your teen will not talk to you if he or she feels harshly judged every time you engage them. It may help you to remember that teenagers are still learning and might not fully grasp how hurtful their behavior can be. Be patient and speak using language that’s understanding and non-accusatory.
  • Listen to your teen. In your efforts to help your child handle stress, you might talk more than you truly listen. As a result, you might miss what your teen is actually trying to tell you.

The world through a teenager’s eyes gets bigger and more exciting—and challenging—every day. Perhaps a new discovery is causing your child stress but he or she doesn’t even realize it. A great way to help your teen manage stress is through reminders that you are there to provide support through the tough times, not just after. A hot tub is a great place for this conversation.

Hydrotherapy and Stress Relief for Teens

Because it’s hard to deal with stress when the body is tense, a hot tub is a wonderful place for your teen to relax and set his or her cares aside for a while. Suggest an early evening soak one day, and as you enjoy the warm water together start a conversation. The hydrotherapy benefits of the spa can be your icebreaker, especially if your teen just returned from sports practice or a big game.

Talk about how you feel the physical symptoms of stress melt away in the moment. Discuss how the massaging jets help you to relax your muscles and ease the aches and pains accumulated during your day at work. If your teen enjoys the experience, consider asking thoughtful questions and gauge the responses. You’ll know if the time is right to continue.

Physical and mental relaxation in a hot tub can help teens manage stress.

If after work or school isn’t the best time for a soak together, consider soaking before bed, especially if your teen has trouble sleeping. Not only can stress and anxiety interfere with sleep, but also a lack of sleep can make it harder to deal with stress, which make anxieties even more acute. A hot tub can help to break this cycle. A hot soak in a spa raises the body’s temperature. Once out of the spa, body temperature begins to fall, triggering feelings of sleepiness. A good night’s sleep will provide some helpful stress relief and help your teen wake up feeling more refreshed.

Encouraging Your Teen to Take a Break in a Spa

Help manage your teen’s stress with a soak together in a spa.

A hot tub will very likely appeal to every member of your family. While you and your spouse might most appreciate how the warm water and jet massages ease tension at the end of a work day, your teen might first see a hot tub as a fun place to splash around, appreciating only secondarily the relaxation and relationship benefits of the spa.

However and whenever you enjoy time together in a spa, you’ll want to make sure that the hot tub you own is one that’s inviting and convenient to use on a daily basis. High-quality spas, such as models in the Highlife® Collection, the Highlife® Collection NXT, the Limelight® Collection, and the Hot Spot® Collection from Hot Spring, offer features that can help draw your teen away from the television and social media into the water with you for some quality time together.

Watch the video below to learn how a hot tub might be the no-distraction zone your child needs.

Watkins Wellness has put you, the customer, first for over 40 years. If you’re looking for the perfect spa to help your children better manage their stress, or if you want to learn more about experiencing wellness as a family, contact your local Hot Spring dealer.