FROM FINANCIAL PROBLEMS TO WORK-RELATED PRESSURES, ALL ADULTS GRAPPLE WITH HIGH LEVELS OF STRESS AT SOME POINT IN THEIR LIVES. THE PROBLEM IS WHEN THIS ADULT-LEVEL STRESS SPILLS OVER TO YOUR CHILDREN WHO MAY NOT HAVE THE COPING MECHANISMS TO DEAL WITH IT. HEALTH PRESENTS A GUIDE TO HELP PARENTS WITH THEIR CHILDREN.
HOW KIDS ADAPT TO STRESS
By emotionally distancing themselves from stressful situations, children often behave in ways to diminish the stress, such as crying when the parent leaves for the office. As children get older chronologically, they increasingly are able to use cognitive problem solving strategies to cope with negative stress. The main problem is when there is prolonged stress and the child continues to use coping skills which may result in permanent behavior patterns that can be harder to correct as the child grows older, especially if they perceive the strategy as an effective coping skill.
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP
Parents need to be aware of their own stress levels and monitor these levels. In studies on coping in times of war or earthquakes, the children who coped best were the ones whose parents coped best. Make communication a norm in your home; just the fact the child knows they can discuss anything openly with a parent is a good stress reliever. Encourage close friendships with peers-kids who do not have close friendships are at risk for developing stress related problems. Unscheduled time should be allowed and encouraged to help a child unwind and relax. Coping strategies must be based on a child’s developmental level and understanding the nature of the stressful event. Prepare a child for an upcoming potentially stressful event. Discuss a haircut or first day of school. Increase the child’s understanding of the upcoming event and attempt to reduce its stressful impact- do not over prepare or over discuss as this can be potentially more stressful than the event itself.
TEACH KIDS RELAXATION TECHNIQUES such deep breathing and counting backwards from ten. Try to listen to the child whatever the age and make time available to spend with the child. Don’t complain to your kids about the life they take part in, let them enjoy their life.