Stress in Children
Stress in children may be caused by family problems at home, academic and peer pressure, certain medical conditions and personality factors such as high self-expectations.
Children are not immune to feeling the effects of stress. We often overlook the signs because we don’t expect to see it. If you suspect that something is wrong with your child, here are some of the symptoms.
It is not a myth that kids suffer from stress. Think of all that they have to deal with: classwork, school activities, friends and growing up. Going through the changes that occur with each age level can bring about enough anxiety to lead to stress in children.
Remember back to your childhood. What did you worry about? Many of the issues you dealt with may not have even involved books but friends, self-image and the opposite sex.
Here are some ways to recognize stress in kids.
Symptoms of Stress
* Irritability – When kids have a hard time figuring things out it can lead to frustration. This may show itself in the simplest of tasks at home. After only one try, they may throw their toy or project aside and storm off.
* Sleeplessness – Your child may wake up early in the morning or come to the breakfast table with dark circles around their eyes. This is more than likely not because they are staying up to play video games, but because stress is leading to insomnia. Another symptom of sleeplessness could be an increased incidence of nightmares.
* Change in appetite – Kids love to eat. If your child is showing less than their usual interest in meals or they skip meals due to a stomach ache it could be stress related.
* Withdrawal – Stress can lead to a withdrawal from friends or pleasurable activities. Kids rarely stay inside if they have a good reason to be outside.
* Dropping grades – This is almost a sure sign that something has changed especially if your child is used to gaining high marks. Talking to a teacher may shed some light on the cause. Also, check their book bag for hidden test papers with low grades that they may have been keeping from you.
* Whining – Kids may do some of that but as they assert their independence, less and less is exhibited. A child who seems needier than normal could have a stress issue.
* Mood swings – Kids experience these too. A generally happy child may become angry or manic for no reason. If the change continues to occur, they may be overwhelmed in some area of their lives.
Children are people pleasers. They do not want to disappoint parents or their teachers. Trying to live up to expectations placed on them can be a catalyst for stress. Talk to your child. Assure them that you want to help them avoid stress as much as possible.