How To Help Your Child Handle Stress

By in Parenting on 07 January 2009

One thing that is quite constant in an adult’s life is stress. It may stem from pressures at work, family conflicts, and financial considerations. With so many important matters to attend to, parents may fail to recognize, that stress can occur in young children too. Although children are pretty much occupied in their carefree world, they can still be bothered by stress at some degree.

It may be hard to distinguish symptoms of stress in children. However, parents need to be alert for any behavioral changes like mood swings, acting out, sleeping difficulties, and bedwetting. A child may also be too stressed out, if he frequently complains of symptoms like headaches, or stomach aches. Aside from that, a child’s performance at school may be greatly affected.

Stress can affect children differently. For young children, they may start new habits like thumb sucking or hair twirling. Older children may react to stress by lying, disobeying, or even bullying. Nightmares and clingy behavior are also common in children who are too stressed-out.

Common stressors for children usually stem from issues at home, and in school. Children, who can’t seem to fit in, may experience a considerable amount of stress. Academic pressures may also cause stress in children. Since the stressors are plenty, parents need to help children determine, whether they need to make adjustments in their schedule. If your child no longer has the luxury of time to relax, or play after school, then he may be involved in too many activities. It may help if you discuss with your child, the possibility of giving up one activity, or you can help him out with time management.

Parents also need to be careful in discussing sensitive matters when the kids are around. Try to keep conflicts, financial troubles, and other important matters, between you and your partner. Children may still be unable to handle these issues well. It can be easy for them to pick up on these issues, especially if they are able to see how it is affecting their parents.

No matter how busy your day gets, it is vital that you spend quality time with your children. Make yourself available, so that they can approach you anytime regarding their concerns. They may only see problems from their own point of view, and it may help if you try to give them a better perspective on things. Let them know that stress is normal at a certain degree, and that other people get stressed out too.

Parents also need to probe and determine, whether a child is putting too much pressure on himself. While having expectations and goals can be good, it can also lead to undue stress, if a child has unrealistic expectations. Parents need to reassure kids that achievement should never be synonymous to receiving awards, or by being always on top of the class. Achievement can be in the simplest of things, like a newly learned skill, or by merely getting better grades.

Preparing your child for stressful activities may also be helpful. If you have a scheduled visit to the doctor, give reasonable information to your child. Allow your child to voice out his concerns, so that you can reassure him when necessary. Make it a point that you schedule fun activities as a family. With the challenges at school, let your kids balance it out by allowing them to enjoy their free time.

If your child is not willing to discuss his concerns, and you notice that your child’s behavioral changes have persisted, try to seek help. Try to talk to your child’s teacher, the school counselor, or even your healthcare provider, so that you can help your child during this challenging time.

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