ATLANTA - We all have stress in our lives, but some teens are so stressed, it's making them physically ill, according to a recent WebMD survey of more than 500 parents.
Teen girls were more likely than teen boys to feel stressed and exhibit signs of being under pressure, their parents reported.
WebMD pediatrician and contributor Dr. Hansa Bhargava says the two leading sources of stress for teens are pressure at school and conflict with their parents.
"And their time is divided by many things,” Bhargava says. “And that includes not only homework, but a lot of activities. Everyone has pressure to get into college, and in addition, to that we've got the layer of media."
Dr. Bhargava says parents really can't control how much homework their teen is assigned, but they can help them better cope with it by helping them learn to manage their time more efficiently.
"If we can actually help the kids to realize, ‘Yes we have an assignment. Yes we have this project.’ And, we actually help them manage their time. Because executive function skills, which is what they call it, they take a little bit of time to develop."
The WebMD survey found nearly half of teens are stressed enough to experience physical symptoms ranging from stomach problems to headaches to chest pain.
But teens also showed physical symptoms. A third of parents said their teens had experienced sadness or depression, problems sleeping and anxiety or panic attacks.
Once challenge? Parents have less time with teens. And technology makes the time they do have more difficult to connect.
"But at the end of the day it is all about old-fashioned parenting,” says Bhargava. “So, communicating with your kids, talking, making time for conversation."
And the WebMD survey also found 40% parents snoop on their teenagers.
"So they're following their teen on social media,” says Bhargava. “Or (they’re) looking at their texts, looking at their phone calls. So I think that's just a reflection of how parents are trying to deal with the overwhelming media in our life. But the truth is, the danger is everywhere."
So, Bhargava says snoop less and talk more.
“Why,” she asks. “Because your teen will eventually be in a space where you're not going to be there."
You can read more about the study: