In most straightforward words, stress is the response to a positive or negative change in a child’s life. As long as the stress is short-lived, manageable, and brings about a positive outcome in the child’s life, it is nothing to be worried about. However, if a negative factor triggers the stress, persists for a long time and goes unmanaged, it can negatively impact a child’s mental health.
What Causes Stress?
There can be several factors that can put a child under stress. These factors are called stressors. Let us have a look at some of the everyday stressors in young children.
- Injury or illness – Prolonged sickness can leave a child under stress.
- Workload from school
- Constantly changing schools or neighborhood
- Periods of financial troubles in the family
- Parents undergoing separation
Signs and Symptoms of Stress in Children
Identifying the signs of stress in a child is essential for management. Following are some of the common signs of stress in children.
- Sleep disturbances
- Anxious behavior
- New phobias
- Stubborn behavior
- Crying for no apparent reason
- Increased anger
- The child might appear socially withdrawn
- Increased clinginess
Managing Stress in Children
Being a parent, you are the primary caretaker of your child. A child’s first comfort zone is his parents, and they are the ones who can make their child learn to manage stress. Identify the stressors that are triggering stress in your child and reassure them that you are there for them. Build a strong bond with your child so that he/she shares any stressful episode without hesitating. Children, who see a secure home environment, quality family time, and see how well their parents manage stress, are the ones with high emotional intelligence. Thus, the way you manage your stress will directly impact how your children impact theirs. Be available for your child and listen to them, and your child will learn to manage stress with time.
Role of Child Psychologists in Counseling Parents and Children
There might be unfortunate instances when you are unable to manage stress on your own or help your child to fight stress and anxiety. Recurrent episodes of anxiety and consistent behavioral issues are red flags, and that is where the role of a child psychologist comes into play. Psychologists are educated and trained to identify stressors and can help you overcome stress. For many parents and children, a few counseling sessions can empower the children to manage stress through the use of different stress management strategies.
How do you manage stress in daily life? And how do you think it impacts your children? Let us know in the comments section below!