“My brain hurts!” Have you ever heard a child share that statement? It’s not a headache; it’s not that they “physically” feel their brain hurting. It could be their way of expressing the stress they feel when they are overwhelmed. In my years of being an educator and working in school counseling capacities, I have found that young people face stressful situations just like adults. The only difference is my years of experience making the transition from my youth to adulthood: I’ve learned strategies to help me cope.
I am a parent, and I can recall many conversations I’ve had with my 20-year-old about being stressed. He has had a speech impediment since he was five that causes him to stutter at times. This took a toll on his social confidence in middle and high school. That issue, along with fitting in with peers, caused him to fall behind in his studies. Because we had a good relationship and could talk about things, he was able to overcome those setbacks and now feels much more confident about who he is and what he wants out of life.
I challenge you to find out what makes your young person’s “brain hurt.” Try having a family talk with them and ask them what they worry about. What stresses them out? Once you find out, share ways they can overcome these stressors.
My son and I worked on goals for home, school, and personal life. I met with teachers to see how I could help him in that area and when things were too hard for me, we talked with counselors who could work with him. Do you have to go to this level? Of course not! It can be as simple as setting early bedtimes so you don’t have to rush in the morning or planning ahead when you have events to prepare for. Find what works for you and your family, and let us know in the comments.