Help Your Children Deal with Stress

It is important for parents to understand that children feel and react to stress too. But, it may not always be obvious that what parents are witnessing is stress related and not just bad behavior.

Stress is something that affects everyone, young and old and it is impossible to live a life free from stress nor would that be desirable. The stress response in the body can result from both negative and positive stress. Basically, a child's stress response is the result of change. Change in the environment can create a physical and/or emotional response that can scare, annoy, frustrate, excite or upset a child. Sometimes positive stress can motivate a child  to do better by giving them an extra push to complete something or try harder. Negative stress can get in the way of everyday functioning and sometimes children need help to understand and deal with how they are feeling. Depending on the age of the child, their responses can be difficult to recognize as stress.

Some of the events that can trigger negative stress in children are:

Young Children
not meeting parents expectations
frustration at achieving new skills
birth of a sibling
change in preschool
tense family atmosphere
mother going to work
divorce or separation of parents
change in the health of a family member or themselves

School Age Children
Parents having trouble getting along
Argument or fight with a friend or sibling
Test anxiety
Changing schools
Moving to a new home and or school
Not doing well in school
Problems with teachers or peers
Unfounded fears: of the dark, well-being, new situations
Too much responsibility

Teens
Not getting along with parents
Too many restrictions or not enough
worries about fitting in
Not being attractive
Part time job
School performance
Curfews
Change in family situation
Personal injury or change in health
Concern about their future

The problem with both negative and positive stress is that sometimes your body over reacts to it and the way it makes a child feel makes it hard for that child to articulate to an adult what is going on.

Some symptoms to watch for are crying outbursts, feeling down, fidgeting, tired, aggressive behavior, short fuse for anger, having trouble sleeping or sleeping a lot, being unusually irritable, being bored. Young children and school age children can have a hard time articulating how they feel so the parent has to be aware.

The is a new product available called Kiddie QR which is a new stress management system for children. It was developed by Elizabeth Stroebel. She is internationally recognized for her innovative work in stress management and biofeedback with children and adolescents

Children learn to have a feeling of emotional and physical control using the KQR exercises as they learn to control their uncomfortable physical reactions to stress like:
• Irregular, shallow or rapid breathing
• Racing heartbeat
• Muscle tension in face, neck
• Cold hands and feet
• Tension without relaxation
• Problems with sleeping
• Having trouble focusing

When parents learn better parenting strategies that can also help with the stress levels of parents and children.