Children and Stress
As adults, we are usually busy as parents and workers and often feel stressed and experience burn-out at times, but would you ever think that children can experience stress too?
Most of us probably think that childhood is a time when children are carefree, having no worries or responsibilities; yet, studies tell us that many children experience extreme stress and have similar symptoms as those of adults. Like adults, children often have bad feelings and have difficulty handling their stress. Unlike adults, though, children do not have the means or the skills to understand or manage their stress in appropriate ways. Children must depend upon us to help them. As parents and caregivers we need to recognize when children are feeling stressed and help them feel better. We can also help by decreasing the discomfort for the child and, in some instances, by assisting a child or family in dealing with the situation that caused the stress.
Both negative and positive events can cause stress. Family events are often a source of stress for children. The break up of a family is a negative event that can cause stress in children. Events such as physical abuse, separation, rejection, and fights are some other negative sources of stress. Other events such as a parent losing a job, or the death of a parent, grandparent, or sibling can create stress. Positive events that cause stress in children include birthday parties, new pets, and the birth of new siblings. Everyday family obligations, events, and routines can create stress and tension for the young child, as in the case of an active family that may be so busy that the needs of a young child may be overlooked.
... parents. It also facilitate parents to use their talents and strengths more frequently to minimize stress, improve family communication and engage their children ... in a teenager’s life that determines what kind of adult he or she will become. This period of ... despite being exposed to misfortune or stressful events. Some of the characteristics of family resilience include among others:- • A ...
Parents and caregivers need to be aware of what is happening in a child’s life that may affect the child’s behavior. A sudden change in a child¼s behavior may be related to stress. Caregivers can talk with the parents about what is going on in the home.
First, parents and other caregivers must observe children’s behavior. Children who isolate themselves from other children may be feeling stress. Also, the child who is easily agitated, irritable, lethargic, lazy, or aggressive may also suffer from stress.
It is also important to watch the child for changes in habits or behavior. For example, a friendly, quiet child who suddenly has been fighting and arguing with his friends may be suffering from stress. As a caregiver, you notice normal behavior among children and you will also be aware when there are changes in children’s behavior.
Children need help in learning to manage and function with the stress they feel. One means to assist children is to acknowledge their feelings. It is important that children understand what they are feeling, that we teach the word “stress” by letting them know that they may feel “butterflies in the stomach,” or that their heart may pound. Let children know that it is all right to feel angry, alone, scared, or lonely. Teach children names or words for their feelings and appropriate ways to express them. Show more interest in the child’s experience than in the behavior that results. There are times when a child just needs a hug for reassurance. In the case of older children, help them learn to problem solve for themselves and come up with management (coping ) strategies. This builds their independence and mastery of coming up with options, finding solutions, or finding other ways to comfort themselves. For example, if a child repeatedly bullies other children, lies, withdraws, gives up, hurts or blames other children, the adult can ask the child what other ways there are to handle the situation that caused the reaction in the child.
Authoritative Style – a parenting style in which parents listen to their children’s input while consistently enforcing the parent’s rules Permissive Style – a parenting style in which parents provide high levels of support but an inconsistent enforcement of rules Authoritarian Style – a parenting style with which children experience high levels of social control but low levels of emotional support ...