Stress has become part & parcel of our life, a normal feeling that everybody feels from time to time. A certain amount of stress can be helpful as it motivates us. Stress becomes bad when it interferes with daily activities, relationships, physical and mental health.
Contrary to belief even very young children can experience stress. So how is a parent to know that their child is stressed out?
Why do children feel stress ?
Many children may have to cope with divorce of the parents, constant changes in schools, conflict within the family, peer pressure and sometimes even violence in their homes or communities.
The impact of a stressful event depends on the child’s maturity, nature, personality and style of coping. They may have difficulty expressing their feelings. Instead of saying I feel overwhelmed they might say my stomach hurts or my head hurts.
Some children may cry, become aggressive, irritable, and talk back, show anger problems, decreased appetite, nightmares, clinginess or whining.
What can parents do?
- Parents play a valuable role in trying to keep the harmful effects of stress ta a minimum
- Make sure the child gets enough rest
- Parents should monitor their own stress levels. They need to be particularly aware when their own stress levels contribute to marital conflict.
- Frequent fighting between parents is unsettling for children
- Ensure good communication. Kids feel better about themselves when the relationship with their parents is loving and open
- Parents should encourage friendships
- Children of all ages need time to relax and play
- Anticipate potentially stressful situations and prepare your child for them
- Let the child know that some level of stress is normal and that it is Ok to feel angry, scared or lonely sometimes
Let me know how do you handle your children in the comment below.