Stressful Events - How to Help Teenagers

Table of contents:

Stressful Events - How to Help Teenagers
Stressful Events - How to Help Teenagers

Teenagers often behave as if they are invulnerable. They may pretend not to be touched or concerned in order to show that they are "cool" and above the problems.


Grief and Loss

Grieving is accompanied by shock, denial, anger, apathy, sadness and confusion. Grieving is the normal reaction to any very significant loss, such as those associated with death or disaster. Teenagers need to know that grief is not permanent and that there are people who are able to go through this process with dignity. Events can change us, but we learn that we have great moral strength, that we can face it and ultimately we recover.

  • Talk to your youth about grief and loss. This will help them to understand and accept their own thoughts and feelings, that the grief has an end and that they will get through it.
  • Explain to them that it takes time to recover from a loss.
  • Encourage them to be patient with themselves and others.

Reassuring frankly

Reassure them by talking about the concrete measures taken to correct the situation insteadthan to express pious Canadas. Do not tell your young people that the situation will end soon or that such a tragedy could never happen in Canada. Although it is unlikely that they will experience any particular disaster or acts of terrorism, no one can guarantee that they will not occur. Admit that you don't have all the answers. However, do not hesitate to tell teenagers, as often as possible, that many people are working to keep everyone safe and that the risks to them are minimal.

Listen with both ears

Listen to what they have to say about events and what they perceive. Listen to them patiently. Tell them the facts, as best you can, and help them differentiate between opinions and facts. Try not to lecture or interrupt them.


Particularly with young people their own age, teenagers may tend to joke about tragedies to subconsciously detach themselves from their fears and the emotional shock that a disaster brings. This is a normal reaction. Discourage bad taste jokes without cutting off communication. The problem will be lessened if teenagers have the opportunity to discuss their opinions and feelings with you in an atmosphere of respect.

Anger and Revenge

In response to acts of terrorism or war, some teens may feel anger and a desire for revenge. These emotions often takebirth when you feel threatened, helpless or vulnerable. Young people may understand from their peers and the media that they are “supposed” to be angry and want revenge, and that this attitude will elicit approval and acceptance. Divert the conversation to deep feelings; feel free to tell them how you feel and discuss positive options with them that could replace revenge.

You may need to stop aggressive behavior. If this behavior is severe or persists, you may need to seek professional help.


Be patient with the teenagers and with yourselves. Give your family time to deal with the situation. Find simple ways to show teens that you love them every day: be affectionate, praise them, and have fun together.

Comforting friends

If teens have friends who have been directly affected by the tragedy, help them find ways to comfort them. They may need help finding ways to provide comfort and support. They may want to avoid talking to these friends for fear of causing them more pain. On the other hand, they might identify too closely with the pain of their friends and spend too much time with them. It is essential to maintain a happy medium and maintain the normal routine.

TV reports

Maybe you would like to limit the access ofyoung people to television reports of stressful events. Teenagers should not be shielded from the facts about disasters. However, if they watch too many news reports about these events, they might be overwhelmed with emotions and anxiety. Watch TV reports together and talk about what you see, hear and feel.

Terrorism and war

In general, adolescents, like most adults, misunderstand the complex situations that lead to terrorist attacks and armed conflicts. If you talk to teenagers about the world situation by looking at different ways of understanding it, it will be easier for them to see events in their context. This might help them feel less upset and vulnerable; they would then be less inclined to express simplistic reactions, such as racism and the search for scapegoats.

Maintaining the family routine

Maintain your routines, especially around bedtime, meals, and extracurricular activities (e.g. sports, religious practice, music, or dancing) - but don't pretend that nothing happened. Take the time to simply talk as a family about the situation and the positive ways you can respond to it. By maintaining routine practices, we ensure that basic needs are met.

Decision Making

If teenagers are very upset by events, it may not be the right time for them to takeimportant decisions. Encourage them to take time to reflect.

Appropriate behavior and reactions in adults

Tell teens what you think and feel about events so they can better understand them. They will gain the confidence to deal with their own emotions if you show them that yours are sincere and that you experience them he althily. Talk about how they react to their friends. It might help them.

Adolescents in vulnerable situations

Stressful events and a persistent climate of uncertainty and worry can have greater consequences for adolescents in vulnerable situations, for example, those who are bullied by other young people, who are going through a difficult family breakdown, bereavement, family violence or sexual abuse, or a traumatic refugee experience, who suffer from clinical depression, anxiety disorders or other mental illnesses, or who have a history drug or alcohol abuse, self-harm or suicide attempts. Some adolescents may then experience an aggravation of their mental he alth problems or their behaviors, which can go as far as a suicide attempt.

Download the PDF document Coping with stressful events published by the He alth Agency of Canada from which the advice in this article is taken.

Popular topic

Interesting articles
The benefits of osteopathy for pregnant women
Read more

The benefits of osteopathy for pregnant women

Throughout the pregnancy many changes in the posture and balance of the whole body of the woman will occur according to an individual dynamic and in connection with the condition of her state of he alth

Plagiocephaly - flat head syndrome
Read more

Plagiocephaly - flat head syndrome

“Too many babies with flat heads” according to the article on the subject of plagiocephaly published in the fall of 2017 in the newspaper La Presse. Recent studies on this clinical condition of infants are unanimous, to avoid wearing a helmet (cranial orthosis) screening for plagiocephaly must be done very early

Alcohol and pregnancy: separating fact from fiction
Read more

Alcohol and pregnancy: separating fact from fiction

What about drinking alcohol during pregnancy? Between everyone's advice, what we find on the Net and what our instinct tells us, it's hard to know where the truth lies