As a parent, you’re probably no stranger to the symptoms of stress. Having kids is a rewarding but emotionally challenging endeavor. You’re stressed about your own life, of course, and you’re stressed about theirs. One type of stress that comes unrivaled? When your kids are stressed. Worried that your kid might be stressed? Take the quiz.
Understanding Stress in Children
Sometimes life gets so hectic, who’s to know how anyone feels? As they age and transition into the various phases of growing up, children’s moods and behaviors may evolve and change fleetingly. This might present difficulty when trying to understand how they’re feeling. However, taking a regular interest and noticing how your children are feeling is part of building a strong relationship with them.
How to Spot Stress
Kids may not always be able to vocalize or even identify that they are stressed, but there are some ways to tell. According to the American Psychological Association, signs that your child is stressed might occur physically, emotionally, or behaviorally. Here are some common characteristics of each.
- Express feeling sick
- Stomach aches
- Chest pain
- Trouble sleeping
- Inability to control emotions
- Recurring fears
- Social isolation
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating
What to Do If Your Child Is Stressed
If you think your child might be stressed, the first thing to do is talk to them. Let them know you’re available and work through their feelings with them. Depending on their age, it might make sense to come right out and ask them. Pay attention to their behaviors, and take note of any areas where your child is expressing disinterest or negativity.
Communicate the normalcy of feeling stressed, and educate them about it. Educate them verbally with your knowledge of stress and how to deal with it, but more importantly, model it.
Show them your strategies and tell them it’s okay to feel stressed. If their symptoms of stress do not improve, consider taking them to a mental health pediatrician. Stress is a part of life—remember to always take care of yourself first, because parents need care too.