Yes, young children experience stress. Sometimes stress is caused by physical reasons (such as hunger, pain, excessive fatigue bazen) and sometimes social causes (separation from parents, divorce, birth of a new sibling, irregularities in the family, etc.) cause stress.
Research has shown that stress factors on children cause more negative results than adults. Stress-focused studies have also shown that transient stress does not usually cause harmful effects, but long-term stress has a profound effect on children. For example, divorce of parents is much more positive than exposure to constant stress in an uneasy family environment because it is a major cause of stress, but it will affect at once. For this reason, you should eliminate every factor in your child's life that will chronic stress and help your child to cope with stress.
Stress Symptoms in Your Child's Life:
Be alert to any possible signs of stress in your child's life. The sooner you notice these symptoms, the sooner you can prevent your child from being adversely affected by the stress factor. However, it is sometimes not easy to observe and interpret the symptoms because they change very quickly, so be very careful and observe your child closely. Here are some possible stress-related symptoms that you may observe in your child:
- changes in sleep patterns, nightmares, difficulty sleeping and falling asleep, excessive sleep
- changes in eating and toilet habits
- annoying habits (such as eating nails, bending your hair, nasal mixing…)
-normal and numerous fear
- peace and extreme anxiety
- being overly irritable, prone to violence
- the need to cuddle constantly
- return to previous behavior (such as finger sucking, bottom wetting…)
- fear of separation
- feeling sick all the time
How the stressful situation affects the child varies according to the age, level of development, character and coping skills of the child.
How should parents respond to their children's stress?
Parents and other individuals interested in the child can prevent or reduce the stress of children in many ways. These are:
- Help your child cope with stress. You can prepare him for the expected situations. You can relax your child by talking to him, you can understand how he feels more closely. For example, the birth of a sibling or the first haircut are events that create different levels of stress. You can discuss these expected events with your child, share your own feelings and thoughts with him, learn his, and reduce your child's stress in this way. However, sometimes exaggerating the event, talking about the subject can stress the child again. Therefore, you should be careful and make the best balance between the two end points. We trust your parenting instincts!
-Create a social support network around you. There are people around you who can take care of your child when you are very stressed. Sometimes you may find yourself suffering from severe stress and may not care for your child properly. In such situations, people who can entrust your child or who can help reduce your stress should be able to find you in your immediate surroundings.
-Give your child the skills to cope with stress and solve problems. These skills will need him for life, so be decisive and teach your child.
- Have your child talk to himself / herself for stress management. Because people relax by talking to themselves and solve many problems more easily in this way.
- Support your child and give him opportunities to experience his emotions. Give your child the opportunity to play games or draw pictures at a very stressful moment.
-Create an order your child is accustomed to, avoid frequent changes, teach your child to share, create environments where he can freely share his feelings and thoughts.
Make sure you do not push your child to stress!
Mothers and fathers do not push / stress their children. Sometimes parents who act with excessive protection motive can inadvertently and unintentionally push their children into stress and create a new cause of stress for them. To prevent this, be realistic and your child's expectations are realistic and meaningful. Keep in mind that your child is younger, give him time and opportunity to play enough games. Do not order your child to do something, give him / her some options and give him / her the opportunity to decide one of these options. Being able to choose with his own will will eliminate possible stress factors.
If you see violent and dramatic programs while watching television, prevent your child from watching them. Select the programs your child will follow consciously.
Monitor your own stress level. Avoid stressing your child to the maximum. Take your time, not to steal your time with your child, but to increase the quality of your time together. Adopt this idea. To reduce your own stress level, eat healthy, relax and exercise enough.
* Please click on the link below to reach another article about stress in children:
Jewett, Jan and Peterson, Karen. (2002). Stress and
young children Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education.
Milnes, Sheila. (2003). What can you do to help when a
child is stressed? Pennsylvania State University Better Kid Care E-Newsletter.
Riley, Dave. (2003). While watching the war on TV:
teaching our children emotional self-control. University of Wisconsin - Extension.
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