Children are often perceived as carefree beings because nothing seems to bother them at that young age. They are often little souls of boundless energy and appear to have the best times of their developing lives. However, underneath it all, children sometimes experience stress; if you’re observant, you will notice the early signs. Many parents say school and homework account for 53% of their children’s stress, with family, friends, and social settings tying at second. Whatever the case is, recognizing and addressing these triggers can improve your child’s emotional and mental well-being.
Many parents want the best outcomes for their children, explaining the intense focus on academic performance. Worldwide, people associate success with having a strong academic background, so many parents push their young ones to excel at all costs. This is a notable cause, but it comes with some downsides. The pressure to excel academically is often met with overwhelming feelings that some children find difficult to navigate. The pressure to achieve and maintain good grades, complete school assignments, and meet your high expectations can be too much. Sometimes, it helps to give yourself a reality check by putting yourself in your child’s shoes. Can you remember your earlier years and how much parental pressure you felt when you flunked a subject? Hopefully, you can do something about it now that you are a parent. First, strive to discover your child’s academic experiences through open conversations. Help them understand that progressing with their studies is the main aim, not necessarily high grades in final examinations. It would be best to help them establish a healthy balance between leisure and studies.
Young children want to fit in with friends at school and other social settings, but not everyone finds it easy. Some children are naturally social-inclined, while others require a few tries to feel comfortable around people. There is another category of children who dread being in any social setting, which can be a major stress element for them. This is particularly true regarding shy and introverted children who must build confidence to be comfortable in socially-charged environments. For children with ADHD, it is important to help them understand social cues to help reduce any internal struggles they may experience. Many minors preparing for back to school with ADHD often require extra help to ease into such social settings. As a parent or primary caregiver, you must understand your child’s challenges and show empathy. Providing structured social scenarios from which these children can pick helpful cues is always advisable. The more you do this, the higher your child’s chances to overcome a possible dislike for social settings.
Disruption to family
Family can be a stress source for many children, making you wonder how that is possible. Changes within the family dynamic, such as divorce, the loss of a parent, or even the birth of a new sibling, are often the culprits. Research on additional family births discovered that older siblings feel left out of their parents’ excitement. They entertain thoughts of the new sibling taking away all attention and parental love. In other cases of family stress, a simple case of relocation can evoke strong feelings in your child. That can become a significant stress source for children if left unmanaged. Two common themes running through all these scenarios are uncertainty and the fear of adjustment. Fortunately, these emotional upheavals can be addressed through open communication and constant engagement with your child. When you validate your child’s feelings and responses to these family dynamics, you create opportunities for them to trust you more. You may find it helpful to maintain routines as much as possible, even during a relocation, divorce, grief, or other significant stressors. Routines create familiarity and stability; these are healthy elements to introduce. They help children feel loved, secure, and recognized in times of change.
One in four children report being bullied during the school year. Bullying is a major concern for many parents and the victims, too. This act comes in many forms besides the usual bigger and stronger child exerting violence on another minor. Cyberbullying seems to have taken over the more traditional form of this disturbing act. Data shows that 79% of cyberbullying targets kids on YouTube, followed by other social media platforms. Children ages 7 – 14 are the most targeted in all forms of bullying, making this a topical issue that must be quashed. Although some schools have initiated strategies and systems to nip it in the bud, more must be done. Children who have experienced bullying feel apprehensive about returning to places they got bullied. That is usually in the school setting. It is natural for any child to feel some apprehension after experiencing bullying, but this is where you come in. Apart from the option of reporting to school authorities if it happened there, you must help your child stand up against bullies. This step is in no way advocating that you teach your child to respond with violence. On the contrary, teach them how to avoid such situations as being alone in quiet areas. In extreme cases, some parents teach their kids self-defense tactics.
Lack of self-expression and identity
Children discover more about themselves when they hit puberty. It’s a time when hormones are raging, and these tweens and teens are trying to understand how they fit in the environment around them. They may start to question things like delayed physical development, the absence of a parent, or both. Some may go to the extent of questioning their identity, especially regarding gender. The lack of self-expression and identity can breed impulsive habits you will find worrying. Undoubtedly, this can be a major source of stress for these young minds, so it’s vital to empathize at this stage. No matter the struggles they experience with these two, it would help if you first understood the cause of these stressors. It could be that your child is trying to fit in with others or have genuine concerns about their identity. Situations like these require supportive strategies, educators, and expert help in the form of counseling.
Your children get stressed, too, so it’s best to monitor them to help you pick up on vital signs.