Adults aren’t the only ones who get stressed out

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s easy to romanticize your childhood as a time where your biggest concerns were who to sit with in the cafeteria and what you were going to spend your allowance on. But the reality can often be a lot different. Children can feel stress about things going on in their own lives (like their grades and friendships) as well as things happening in the world around them (their parents’ finances or something they overheard on the nightly news). And while some stress is healthy and can help your child learn to adapt to different situations, too much of it can have long-lasting negative effects. A report by the Centers for Disease Control showed that extreme childhood stress can impact development and physical health as well as how they behave as adults.

And according to a report by the American Psychological Association, most parents are unaware of how stressed their kids really are. The main thing you can do is keep an eye out for common symptoms of stress in children, which include:

  • headaches
  • chest pain
  • rapid heartbeat
  • stomachaches
  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • social isolation
  • withdrawal from usual activities
  • mood swings, emotional outbursts and aggression
  • trouble concentrating

The best way to find out if your child is stressed is to ask them directly. Asking questions like what the word stressed means to them and what causes them to worry will start a conversation about what you can do together to alleviate and handle the situation. It’s important to let your kids know that stress is a normal part of life and that there are coping mechanisms to help them get through it. By guiding your kids through the process of dealing with their stress in a healthy way, they will be much more prepared to handle anxiety as they grow into adulthood.

Photo credit: allspice1

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