Mercurial tempers and tears.
Exam preparation paralysis.
It’s the sign of exam season for many teenagers and one that the whole family gets to experience. It’s the most stressful part of a teenagers life as so many dreams and aspirations are at the start of the exam process and during the exams there’s stress and anxiety; wondering whether questions were answered correctly, whilst anticipating the next exam in the next subject. Then post exam stress; whether they’ll get a brown envelope in August holding success or disappointment.
So how can a hot tub help a stressed and emotionally volcanic teenager during their revision and exam season?
It gives them permission to relax, reflect, and rest. It gives you as parents the opportunity to check-in with your teen in a non-threatening way, helps your teen get some perspective on the experience, and you can encourage, love and support them. It’s the perfect opportunity for some parent-teen time and it’s a calm and relaxing space with no distractions which means you have a fantastic opportunity for developing good communication between the two of you.
So let’s take a more detailed look at how the hot tub can be the perfect environment to help teens relieve their stress, have some 1-1 time with you and help you find a way to enable them to confide in you and feel safe to do so.
Sharing the Space
Spending time with your teen in your hot tub means that you can develop a meaningful conversation without the usual distractions of phones, social media notifications and gaming activities.
You will be able to help your teen by modelling how to relax and take time out to rest, and help them see the value of reflecting on the day. It teaches teens to get a sense of perspective over their day and demonstrates valuable habits such as how to explore what went well, what didn’t go so well, what they learned, what they’ll change, and how they’ll apply the changes.
It enables your teen to develop good emotional resilience, confidence and self-reflection, observe their own behaviours and attitudes in a non-judgemental way, and see how they can be proactive in making small changes to improve their lives.
With you by their side sharing a relaxing and restorative space, they’ll not only have wonderful memories but more importantly they will become better communicators and more empathic to the experiences of others, especially when you’re able to share your thoughts and reflections with them.
Locating School, Home and Social Problems
Most teens are pretty monosyllabic when it comes to developing a conversation, particularly when you are in what they deem as ‘their space’. A hot tub is a neutral space that all the family can access. This creates a way of opening up conversation so you’re likely to find your teen wants to talk more and it gives you the opportunity to listen and begin to discover what’s on their mind without you feeling you have to ask questions and them feeling that they are not being interrogated!
For all their bravado, teens often feel anxious and unsafe and at the same time do not want to be told what to do. When your teen sees that you are not launching into advice-giving, but instead you are listening, your teen can see that you are trying to support their development into adulthood by respecting their privacy as you are enabling them to lead the conversation and you are treating them as an individual rather than as your child.
It’s all part of the letting go process and letting the conversation develop naturally means that your teen trusts that you are there to listen rather than bombard them with questions, and they can appreciate that you are giving advice only when your teen asks for it, which means they are likely to want to repeat the experience with you and you get the privilege of knowing what’s on their mind and be able to help and support them, strengthening your relationship in the process.
Regular one-to-one time
Your hot tub can help you establish one to one time with your teen or teens. Life is already busy and if a regular time isn’t set, life gets in the way and before you know it, your teen is on their way out the door to University or travelling or work and you’ve lost precious opportunities to connect with them. In addition when you have more that one teen there’s often a sense of having to compete for your attention, so a regular one-to-one time means you can check in and spend time with your teen, they can appreciate some undivided attention and everyone can use the tub for family time.
Exam Preparation & Stress Relief
Your teen is having a cacophony of stresses going on under their quiet exterior and it’s no wonder that they often come across as sullen and moody. They are trying to discover who they are, what they believe about the world, how to navigate a 24/7 culture filled with app notifications and conversations going on with their peers, they’re studying, their worrying whether they’ve made the right academic choices and whether they can actually achieve their desired results.
They’re also seeing some of their friends experiencing difficulties such as drugs, teenage pregnancies, bereavement, ill-health, bullying, and all of this whilst their brains are going through the fastest growth spurt and their hormones still all over the place. They are having to learn adult skills very quickly and let’s face it, adulting can be really hard work! So your teen is having a high level of stressors thrown at them every single day, each one likely to distract them. No wonder they seek ‘alone’ time.
Using the hot tub gives them many stress-relieving benefits. It helps them sleep better and relaxes them. It allows them to physically release the tension in their shoulders and neck reducing tension headaches. It triggers the happy bio-chemicals in their body. It gives them the head space to reflect on their day in a peaceful way and, with your help, can help them with preparation tips and revision tips as they’ll be more open to your suggestions with planning their exam prep time, and they’ll be able to consider the suggestions in a calm and relaxed way.
An alternative to other ‘stress- escape’ habits
Negative stress and a lack of positive stress-relief approaches means that your teen is susceptible to other stress-escape habits that are not healthy for them such as alcohol, drugs, or being in places that leave them vulnerable.
The hot tub also allows them some fun and ‘switch-off’ time to take the pressure off them. Encourage your teen to get some friends over to use the tub. Get some hot tub games and make a day of it. It means that they have a safe, fun and chilled-out day and they are connecting physically with each other rather than online which improves their mental wellbeing and helps them focus on each other rather than be distracted by social media pings. It gives them a healthier alternative to dealing with stress.
Your teen also has the chance to refresh so that when they return to their studies they’ll be more motivated and able to concentrate better. And you’ll be creating an environment where your teen wants to be in so you can know they’re safe and having fun safely.
Let’s face it, knowing that your child is navigating through stress safely and effectively is not only setting your teen up for success in the future, but it also gives you peace of mind.