TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT STRESS
Parents may wonder why their children should
have to worry about stress. But today even kindergartners face
pressures their parents may not know of. Academic and social
competition, divorced parents and confusion over sex and drugs
are sources of stress for children who are too young to deal
adequately with such things. A child suffering from stress may
not be able to identify what is bothering her. Parents need to
watch for the warning signs of stress in their children. Warning
Signs of Stress
Youngsters react to stress in various ways.
Some may spend more time than usual on their homework, never
being able to "get it right." Others may simply give up
in frustration. Children feeling social anxiety may withdraw from
friends. When a child is under stress of any sort, he may act
anxious or depressed and can no longer cope with situations he
once handled well.
When Parents Stress
Affects a Child
Children are more sensitive to their
environment than many parents realize. Your marital, financial or
job-related stresses can affect them. If this happens, try to
reassure them that you are strong enough to handle the situation.
No matter how bad things get, try not to use your child as a
sympathetic ear by telling her all of your troubles. Although
some youngsters may seem calm and impervious to stress, no child
has the inner resources for dealing with stress that an adult
does. Love and caring among family members is the best way of
getting through difficult times.
What Can You Do?
The best way for parents to help their children
avoid stress is through unconditional lovethe kind that
says "I will love you no matter what." If your daughter
knows you will love her even if she doesnt get an
"A" on her next exam, she is less likely to feel
overwhelmed by schoolwork. The same goes for your sons
performance in sports or social pursuits. If the stress has an
identifiable causefor instance, procrastinating on school
assignmentsyou can work with them to help them avoid the
problem in the future.
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