Today’s world is a stressful place – and for kids as well as adults. We all have a lot of pressure in our adult lives, what with workplace challenges and family problems. It’s so easy to forget that kids get stressed too!
Whilst it’s true that parents have to deal with the stresses and strains of daily living – it’s also true that much of it spills over to the children. This “fall out” transferred stress can be anything from the parents fighting and arguing about how to handle a certain situation to the parents snapping at their kids because of their own stress load.
Children can’t always understand this, especially young kids. But they always pick up on it and are affected by it. School problems add to their stress, too. Getting ready for an exam can be a huge problem to a young child. Facing bullies or dealing with a teacher that may not be very sympathetic can put pressure on them as well. And for twins schooled in different classes, separation from their twin can be stressful.
And who can blame the stressed out parents if they are so busy dealing with their own problems that they overlook their child’s needs to talk about their own problems? Pre-teen and teen depression is a serious problem in the western world and is at an all-time high in the USA.
Adults may shrug off the “lesser” problems of their son or daughter as a petty concern but to your child it appears differently. Because stress comes chiefly from the perception on stress, we each view our problems from our own personal insight. A child’s view of the world is not and cannot ever be the same as that of the parents. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a valid stress.
Kids deal with stress in different ways. Some run with a “bad crowd” and get into drugs or alcohol etc. Others retreat into themselves and into brooding and depression.
You can help a young child during stressful times by being a sympathetic listener. Try not to offer too much advice unless asked. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Above all, be there for your growing child or young adult. After all you know that de-stressing is essential to your long term good health. The same is true for your child.