It is around this time of the year when your Teen faces increased stressors and pressure and it is not uncommon to see Teens crumble.  In an already vulnerable time of life, add the pressure to succeed and a fear of failure, and it’s not hard to see why anxiety and poor coping strategies, such as self-harm, alcohol and drug use, avoidance and difficult behaviours, soar.  Sound familiar? 

Are you practicing this #1 technique to support your Teen during exams?? 

Foster problem solving 

A Teen who is unable to problem solve and see a way out of the stressors they face, is a very vulnerable Teen.   

How do you problem solve? 

  1. Define the problem.  Support your Teen to understand what the underlying problem is.  For example, for a Teen who is feeling overwhelmed by upcoming exams, is the problem that they are underprepared or is the problem a fear of failure?  Be specific when defining a problem; 
  2. Analyse the problem.  Is it a ‘real’ or an ‘imagined’ problem?  For example, are they underprepared for the exam because they have not studied, or have they studied adequately and they fear it is not enough?  Is the problem really a problem if you take a step back and see the bigger picture? For example, if the problem is failing a test (and the consequence is not getting a job) then ask your Teen if this is really the only consequence.  Is there another way to get a job?  Often the problem vanishes at this step because your Teen realises they are ‘catastrophising’ and the problem is not as big as they first thought; 
  3. List possible solutions.  Anything goes here – start with a brainstorming session and list all possible solutions.  For example, if feeling overwhelmed with exams, a few solutions might be: study more, practice stress relieving techniques, seek assistance from a tutor, create a study plan to ensure all subjects receive attention, take a step back and look at the problem with realistic eyes rather than fear etc etc.  Then narrow the options down, by removing unrealistic, impossible or damaging solutions; 
  4. Select a solution then implement it; 
  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of the solution.  If it didn’t work, it is important to go back to step one and try again.  

Problem solving is a vital skill we all need to possess.  It is important to understand that no matter how difficult, ANY problem can be solved.   

 If your Teen wants coaching to help learn effective problem solving techniques, get in contact with Speak Teen Teen Coaching today! 

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