Signs To Identify Childhood Stress In Your Kids
Signs To Identify Childhood Stress In Your Kids
Just like adults, children can also get stressed out. They are remarkably good at noticing things and absorbing their environment’s energy. Most children are quite sensitive, and most of the time, adults do not even realise how many things they choose that seemingly go unnoticed. Many grownups get surprised when they hear little children mentioning things that they thought kids would not understand. While children might not know how to perceive things properly and express themselves, their extraordinary observation abilities can often stress them out. The more sensitive you are, the more likely you are to be stressed.
What makes children stressed?
Any big or small problem can make children stressed. Family problems like parents’ divorce, seeing a parent being abused, or any kind of trauma or death of someone close can deeply impact a child’s mental well-being. If the neighborhood does not feel safe to a child, that can also add to the stress. Academic pressure is also a big contributor to children’s stress. Not being able to make friends, feeling left out, or getting bullied at school significantly impacts their mental health. As parents, make sure the content your children are consuming does not negatively impact their mental health. Financial problems in a household can also make children tense. A lot of times, watching the news and seeing a major crisis in the country or anywhere in the world can affect kids badly. Watching horror movies or consuming content that is not appropriate for their age can also make them stressed.
How to know if your child is stressed?
Children soak up everything from their environment, and whether it’s living through a pandemic or struggling to socialize at school, it is important to pay attention and notice what your child is feeling. Here are some signs and symptoms of stress in your kids.
A major sign of stress in children is anxious behavior. Whether it is the anxiety of going to see a doctor or appearing in an exam, help your children face their fears and deal with the situation by assuring them that they can get through this and that you are here to support them. Fear, mood swings, emotional outbursts, feeling tense, developing nervous habits like nail biting, etc., are all signs of anxiety in your little one.
Any kind of change can make children feel insecure and make them extra clingy. Their clinginess is a sign that they see you as a safe place and if they start being too clingy, try to see what changes they are encountering in their life at the moment and what are the things that are making them feel insecure. When children have separation anxiety, keeping them away forcefully will not help. Instead, acknowledge their feelings and get to the cause of their behaviour. Allow your children to have you as their safe space while helping them figure out their potential triggers and assist them in coping.
Crying too much:
It is normal for children to cry and have emotional outbursts from time to time, but stress can make them extra cranky and easily irritable. They also cry a lot more and have frequent emotional outbursts. A good approach to handle such a situation is to ask the children what is upsetting them and validate their feelings. Try to calm them down while helping them deal with their triggers. Feeling frustrated and excessive crying are symptoms of other issues, and they need to be addressed rather than just telling your child to stop crying.
A very common sign of stress is having problems with sleep. Sleeping too little or too much and having frequent nightmares are signs that your child is stressed out. Ask your child what makes them scared and address the underlying cause of bad dreams. When children are terrified, it is important to give them reassurance and let them feel that they are not alone. Do not invalidate their emotions or dismiss their fears. A healthy approach is to get to the root cause of what is making them stressed and to help children get quality sleep at night and naps during the day.
Stress affects the appetite of children. They either start eating too much or too little. Most of the time, children struggle to eat because stress can cause physical changes in the body, and it is common to feel nauseous when you are stressed. In such a situation, it becomes difficult to eat, and children can even start vomiting. So, there is a high chance that complaints of a tummy ache before a test might be true. Try your best to make your child feel relaxed and talk to them about their feelings.
When children are stressed, it is normal for them to feel withdrawn. They will probably not want to socialize, communicate, or interact with other people. They also tend to refrain from participating in activities. Withdrawn children need the empathy and attention of their parents and caretakers. Being bullied at school, getting bad grades, feeling worthless and having low self-esteem can all make children withdraw from their surroundings. Talk to them and listen empathetically when they express their emotions. Listening attentively will let you understand their behaviour and also let you help them overcome their problems.
Stress in children can have a negative impact on their emotional, social, and even physical development, and it is necessary to address its causes. The understanding, support, and care of their parents can help them cope with it, and parents need to ensure that the child’s physical and mental well-being is not compromised for any reason. It is important to create a safe and stress-free environment at home and encourage healthy coping mechanisms. If you are unable to help your child, do not hesitate to talk to a professional. Professionals can get to the deeper causes of a problem, and stress management is a skill that your children will need forever.