Sometimes it seems like stress is coming at us from all directions. Between work, bills, and relationships with others, there are many sources of stress for adults. Wouldn’t it be great to be a kid again and not have to deal with stress?
The truth is, kids do have stress, too. There are more stressors for children in today’s fast-paced society than there has ever been. Yet adults often dismiss the stress that their children feel, because they see the matters that cause it as insignificant. But they are not insignificant to the kids who are dealing with them.
Why Do Kids Feel Stressed Out?
If we think back to when we were kids, we can probably remember times when we experienced stress. Maybe we had to deal with a bully at school. Or perhaps we had a big project at school that we weren’t sure we would be able to finish on time. Kids today go through these types of things as well.
Another possible source of stress for kids is home life. When their parents come home from work feeling stressed out, it has an impact on the kids as well. If Mom and Dad are having trouble making ends meet, children often blame themselves, causing them to feel stress. Problems with siblings can also be a cause of anxiety.
Kids today are also under a lot more pressure than we were when growing up. They are expected to learn more at a younger age in school, and to participate in more extracurricular activities. It’s good for them to learn and be active, but they need time to just be kids too.
How Can I Help My Child When He Is Stressed?
Kids often avoid talking to parents about the things that cause them stress. Still, there is a lot we can do to help them.
* Talk to your child each and every day about how things are going. Ask open-ended questions about school, activities and friends. If he seems upset, ask him what’s bothering him. You’ll be surprised how much you will learn just by asking.
* When your child tells you about something that is bothering him, try to help him figure out how to fix it. Provide minimal guidance and suggestions, and try to let him think of solutions on his own.
* Adjust your child’s schedule if it will help. If he is participating in several sports, taking piano classes, and trying to keep up with his schoolwork, it may be too much for him. Work together to decide which things are worth continuing and which ones to drop.
Kids may not face the same sources of stress as adults, but they do get stressed out sometimes. It is a parent’s job to help kids learn to deal with stress in productive ways, and to eliminate stressors that are avoidable. Kids who learn to cope with stress effectively are happier and healthier, and they are less likely to suffer ill effects from stress as adults.