Every child and adolescent experiences stress from time to time. Stress is a natural reaction to change and difficulty. We tend to think of stress as a negative emotion brought on by traumatic occurrences. However, coming happy occasions (such as graduations, holidays, or new hobbies) can also be stressful.
When there is something that children and teenagers must prepare for, adjust to, or guard against, they experience stress. When something important to them is at risk, they get stressed. Even when a change is for the best, it can cause anxiety.
When Can Stress Be Helpful?
In smaller doses and with the proper care, stress may be beneficial to children. It can assist children in rising to the occasion. It can help them in achieving their objectives, focusing their efforts, and meet deadlines. Positive stress encourages children to develop their inner strengths and skills known as resilience.
When Can Stress Be Harmful?
A child’s ability to manage might be overwhelmed by stress or hardship that is too strong, significant, long-lasting, or unexpected. When kids don’t get a break from stress or they don’t have the support or coping skills they need, stress may be damaging. Too much stress over time can harm a child’s mental and physical health.
As a parent, you cannot prevent your children from experiencing stress. However, you can assist them in coping. You can:
- Encourage them to utilize positive stress to achieve their objectives, adapt to change, overcome obstacles, and acquire confidence.
- When they are going through difficult life situations, provide extra support and stability.
- Protect children from the negative consequences of excessive stress, such as chronic and traumatic stress.
What Is Positive Stress?
When children and teenagers meet a challenge, they experience positive stress. It may motivate them to prepare and concentrate. It can inspire them to set goals, complete tasks, and attempt new things. They may experience positive stress in the days leading up to an exam, a big game, or a recital. The stress is gone once they confront the issue. Positive stress allows children to develop and learn.
What parents can do: It’s tempting to jump in and make things ready for your child while dealing with morning school prep (or any other period of typical stress). However, this will not assist children in learning how to cope with good stress. Rather than doing it for them, educate them on how to do it themselves.
What Is Life Event Stress?
Difficult Life Events
Many children and teenagers encounter difficult life circumstances. Some people become ill and require hospitalization. Some children have parents who have divorced. Some are dealing with the death of a loved one or enrolling in a new school. Any of these life situations has the potential to generate stress.
When children confront adversity, they may experience stress on and off for a few days or weeks while they adjust.
What parents can do: Extra support and stability can be provided by parents. Listen to your youngster and have a conversation with them. Assist them in feeling protected and cherished. If at all feasible, inform them of your plans. Discuss what will happen, how they can cope, and how you will assist them. Provide comfort and show concern.
Good Life Events
Even what we consider to be positive life events can be stressful. A special birthday, the start of a new school year, graduation, the holidays, or travel may all cause stress in children and teenagers.
What parents can do: What parents can do: Parents may assist their children and teenagers in preparing for the future. Discuss the problem with them, concentrating on the good aspects. When feasible, include children in the planning process. Give attention to what they’re saying and how they’re feeling. If they’re stressed, reassure them that it’s normal and that they’ll be OK. You’ll be there for them whenever they need you.
What Is Chronic Stress?
Chronic stress occurs when tough life experiences cause tension that lasts longer than a few weeks. Chronic stress is difficult for children when they don’t get a break from it or when they don’t have the support or coping skills they need to cope.
Chronic stress can happen by a serious health condition that lasts for a long period. Losing a parent or a close family member or experiencing long-term suffering, may be devastating. This type of stress can have a long-term impact on the mental and physical health of children. However, there are ways to avoid the negative consequences of persistent stress.
What can parents do-
- Assist children in feeling protected, loved, and cared for. It is the most effective technique to relieve stress. It is more crucial than ever to feel connected to you and to know that you love and accept them. Establish routines, such as having the same bedtime, eating meals together, and being available after school. Routines provide children with a sense of predictability and a sense of security.
- Teach coping techniques. When children understand that there are things they can do for themselves to relieve stress, they feel better. Calm breathing and meditation may be learned and practiced by children of all ages. There are a variety of additional talents to acquire as well.
- Assist them in taking a stress-relieving break. Make time to play, draw or paint, go for a walk in the woods, read a book, play an instrument, or spend time with friends and family. These hobbies aren’t simply for enjoyment. They assist children and teenagers in experiencing good feelings that help them cope with stress.
What Is Traumatic Stress?
This is the stress that occurs as a result of a traumatic experience that is significant, intense, or unexpected. This sort of stress can be triggered by traumatic events such as major accidents or injuries, abuse, or violence.
When parents become aware that their children are being mistreated or bullied, they might intervene to protect them. However, it is not always feasible to shield children from all forms of trauma. If their children or teenagers experience severe stress, parents may assist them in receiving the treatment they require to heal.
What parents can do:
- Give children and teenagers more attention and assistance. Be available to listen and converse. Assure children that they are safe. Accept and validate their sentiments. Let them know that things will get better with time.
- Spend time together in a pleasant way. Encourage your children and teenagers to participate in activities that they like. These might be activities you can do together or activities your adolescent enjoys on their own, such as listening to music, being outside, or creating art. These items elicit happy feelings, which can help to alleviate some of the tension caused by trauma.
- Allow children and teenagers to use their abilities in everyday situations. They may feel vulnerable, uncomfortable, or uncertain of themselves as a result of trauma and stress. Knowing what they are capable of and who they are as individuals may help children and teenagers feel powerful and self-assured.