A Parent's Definitive Handbook to Teen Hormones & Stress

You understand the struggle of raising teenagers in your home.

You remember when your teen was a child, and people would tell you, “Just wait until their a teenager!” with an all-knowing look in their eyes.

Parents with teens know the challenge of watching their children enter the teenage stage.  The mood swings, emotions, hormones, changes, drama - you have seen it in your child, haven’t you?

But what if you could help your teen remain balanced and in control?

What if many of the mood and emotional swings your teen faces could be calmed?

It is possible!  You can turn these “what ifs?” into reality in your teen!

Hi, my name is Dr. Tony, and I have spent over 7 years working with children and teens who struggle with anxiety, behavior struggles, and low confidence and self-esteem.  My vision is to provide hope and answers to you as parents, and I love the results: watching parents see their children happy and enjoying life again.

Are you ready to learn how your child can adapt and thrive as a teenager?

Let’s go!

Table of Contents...

  1. The reality:  Many teens have major mood and emotion swings

  2. The vision:  You want your teen to adapt and thrive in life

  3. The cause:  Stress causing the release of cortisol

  4. The problem:  Teens get stuck in their emotional swings

  5. The proper care:  Consistent flow of hormones cause balance

  6. The role of parents:  7 practical ways to reduce stress

1. The reality:  Many teens have significant mood and emotion swings

Many parents have high hopes for their children as they are growing up.  We picture our children excelling in school, maturing in college, and entering the workforce with passion and energy.

Sadly, many of these images are dashed during the teen years.

The sad reality is that many children enter the teen years and seem to change into new people.  Our sweet, caring child in elementary school evolves into a moody, emotional teenager in Jr. High.

Many teens display what is best described as a pendulum swing of emotions.  This pendulum is affected by the changes in hormones, mood, and the stress of life.

What does the emotional pendulum look like?

In many teens, it seems like they are controlled by an on/off switch.  One minute they are excited and happy, and the next they are irritable and depressed.

A particular event might be fun one time, but the next time it is viewed as the ultimate evil.

Teens’ energy levels also commonly follow a pendulum pattern.  A teen appears full of energy, but then quickly has an extended period of tiredness and listlessness.

This is not what we parents want from our teens, but sadly, it is the reality for many teens in today’s world.

So as a parent, what is your vision for your teen? 

2. The vision:  You want your teen to adapt and thrive in life

If you ask 20 parents what their vision for their children and teenagers is, be ready to receive 20 different answers! 

However, if you dig to the bottom of all these answers, you quickly find an underlying answer parents have for their teens.

We as parents want to see our teens be able to adapt and thrive during their teen years, don’t we?

The teen years are difficult; let’s not pretend they are easy.  Teens are entering Jr. High and High School, their bodies are changing, their hormones are kicking in, they have a responsibility as young adults, and everything they thought was normal as a child is changing.

Imagine if your teen adapts through all these changes and remains calm.  That would be incredible, wouldn’t it?

But let’s go a step further:  What if your teen not only adapts but actually thrives and grows during these changes?

That would be the ultimate, wouldn’t it?

As we move through this article, keep this vision in your mind for your teen:  “I want my teen to be able to adapt and thrive as a teenager.”

Let’s take a closer look at what causes much of the pendulum swings in our teens:  stress.

3. The cause:  Stress causing the release of cortisol

Stress, and the corresponding hormones released, is the most significant cause of the pendulum swings you see in your teen.

In today’s culture and world, teens are surrounded by multiple stress triggers.  These triggers can occur at home, at school, and every other situation your teen faces.

What are common stress triggers for teens?

  • Constant noise

  • The pressure to keep up at school

  • Too much blue light from screens

  • Social media bombardment and pressures

  • Relationship issues at school or home

  • Lack of sleep

  • Immune and health issues

  • Effects from a stressful pregnancy or when they were little

These stress triggers, along with many others, cause the body’s nervous system to send stress signals to the brain.  The brain takes in this influx of stress signals, and it tells the body to release stress hormones, particularly cortisol.

How does cortisol affect your teen?

Cortisol causes the opposite of a calm and balanced reaction to our surroundings.  Instead of viewing the situation in a relaxed and proper perception, our body is overtaken with stress, tension, and a “fight or flight” mentality.

The real problem with cortisol is that it remains in the bloodstream for several hours, meaning your teen has tension for long periods.

The release of cortisol also triggers a negative stress pattern.  If stress is detected and cortisol is released, the brain perceives even more stress, which results in more cortisol being released.

Extended and regular periods of cortisol in the body ultimately results in lack of sleep, lost productivity, imbalanced perceptions of reality, and potential health concerns.

4. The problem:  Teens get stuck in their emotional swings

The symptoms and patterns we discussed in the previous section are common in many of today’s teens.  Sadly, many adults respond to these symptoms with a common misconception:

“They grow out of it eventually.”

False!  They won’t grow out of it if proper care is not given.

One of the common mistakes adults make with teens is viewing their stress triggers and emotional swings as being normal.  It is true teens go through hormone changes, but wild emotional patterns are not natural or healthy for teens.

So what happens if these issues are not addressed in the teen years?

The hormonal imbalances, stress triggers, and emotional swings carry into adulthood. The brain does not flip a switch when we reach a certain age; instead, issues we face as teens are carried into adulthood.

The most common result of these negative patterns in adulthood is health issues.

Many adults face the following due to untreated stress and hormone imbalances:

  • Adrenal fatigue

  • Weight gain

  • Depression

  • Poor sleep

  • Anxiety

We have covered the causes and problems of some of the imbalances your teen may be facing, and it’s time we talk about what you as a parent can do to help!

5. The proper care:  Consistent flow of hormones cause balance

We discussed how the brain is continually responding to the signals the body sends to it.  When the body sends constant stress signals, the brain’s typical response is to release cortisol and other stress responders.

This begs the question, “How can we solve this problem and stop the release of these stress hormones?”

The key is in the nervous system’s super stress highway, the HPA Axis.  This is the pathway from the body to the brain.

If there is a calm response within the brain and nervous system, then the brain responds with calm and balanced responses and hormones, even if the body may be experiencing some stress.

However, too often there are issues with the HPA Axis and spinal cord, resulting in stress signals between the brain and body.

These false signals result in the brain misinterpreting signals from the body, and the result is commonly the release of too many hormones or the incorrect hormone, such as cortisol.

If a teen’s HPA axis is out of place, regular chiropractic care helps calm and balance the nervous system, thus restoring proper hormonal control. 

A second approach is to reduce the number of stress triggers surrounding a person.  There are certain stimuli that you can control with your teens, such as reduced screen time or earlier bedtimes.  

However, certain stress factors are not as easily addressed, such as relational or social pressures.  In these cases, having a calm brain and nervous system, along with balanced hormones, will make a difference in the way the brain and body communicate and respond to their surroundings.

6. The role of parents:  8 practical ways to reduce stress

As a parent, you want what is best for your teen.  

You want to see them escape the emotional pendulums and stress patterns they face.  You claim the vision of watching them adapt and thrive in life as they enter adulthood.

So what can you do as a parent? 

What can you do to help a consistent flow of calming signals and hormones in the brain and nervous system?

Even if you are not a chiropractor, physician, or psychologist; there are things you can do to help reduce stress triggers in your teen’s life and help them escape negative stress patterns.

  • Make sure your teen is getting consistent deep and restful sleep.  Regular bedtimes are important, as well as aiming for 8-9 hours a night.

  • Reduce screen time, especially an hour before bedtime.  Screens emit blue light which causes the release of cortisol.

  • Slow down with your family and spend purposeful time together.  Our busy society creates an unhealthy go-go-go culture, and creating space for rest and interaction is essential.

  • Regular chiropractic care.  Routine care allows the brain, nervous system, body, and HPA Axis to reset and a balanced flow of hormones to occur.

  • Be present with your children; don’t let a screen and electronics babysit them.  Help them regularly interact with the “real world” of hobbies, music, books, sports, games, etc.

  • Look for drug-free solutions and products in your home.  Don’t assume medications are the only way to treat stress and hormonal imbalances; there are natural ways!

  • Love your teen when they mess up.  No one is perfect, and a relationship built on trust and love brings balance and foundation to a teen’s life.

  • Model these behaviors to your teen!  Get plenty of sleep yourself, don’t turn to a screen by default, show healthy social interactions, etc.!

Conclusion:  There is a better way!

Don’t forget the vision you have for your children in the teen years.

A vision where they contribute to society, adapt to adulthood, and ultimately thrive in life.

If this is your goal for your teen, but you don’t know how to help them escape the negative spirals of stress, don’t give up.  

Help is available!

If you are ready to discuss your teen’s emotional and stress patterns, then contact us at Life Potential today to set up a time to meet.  We would love to help you develop a plan to restore calm and balance in your teen’s life!


Life Potential Chiropractic

136 E Lancaster Ave

Downingtown, PA 19335

(610) 269-3743

©2019 by Life Potential Chiropractic. Design & Marketing by LifeX Marketing