Helping Children Identify And Deal With Stress

Children deal with many stresses in today's society, such as internet bullying, appearance, and family dysfunction.

Childhood is a stressful time for many kids. There are enormous pressures that society puts on children, and often times, children do not have the tools to cope with the stresses in their lives. Parents may be unprepared - they recall their childhood as their carefree years, and so it is difficult for some parents to understand what their children are dealing with. Since a high stress level can lead to poor health, both mentally and physically, parents should be prepared to help their children deal with stressors and identify stress sources in their lives. Parents should talk to their kids about the stresses that they may encounter and how to cope with them. Here are some of the most common stressors that children are experiencing in today's world:

Bullying

Sure, bullies have been around forever. You can probably remember some bullies from your own childhood. Unfortunately, bullying can be a far more severe situation for today's youth that it was for past generations. Children are not only preyed on in their schoolyards and classrooms. They can also be targeted by bullies while they are at home. There is a whole new breed of bullying, and it is called internet bulling. Kids are taking their aggressions out on each other by making slanderous and hurtful internet posts, using e-mail, instant messenger services, and web diaries. You may not have realized that your child's computer could be such a lurking predator. To ensure that your child is not either internet prey or predator, monitor internet and computer usage closely. Don't let your child have a computer in his or her bedroom - the computer should be in an area of your home that isn't private, such as in the living room or kitchen. Internet bullies are often so relentless and audacious since they have the ability to say whatever they want from the privacy of their own home computer, and kids that are targeted by these bullies are under enormous stress. If your child has been victimized by an internet bully, you don't have to stand idly by. You should speak to school administrators and to the bully's parents in order to get the situation resolved so that your child is no longer an object of torment and ridicule.

Appearance

The media puts so much pressure on young people to be stylish, beautiful, and thin. Young girls are particularly susceptible to the appearance stressor, although boys also feel the pangs of desire to be attractive and fashionable. Despite the fact that kids are feeling the pressure to look perfect, more and more children are overweight or obese. Overweight and obese children are likely to be made fun of by their peers. They will be teased about their appearance by others, but also, they will begin to internalize the negative comments that they receive from peers every day, and they will in turn develop very low self-esteem and self-worth. If a child is overweight and there isn't a medical explanation for the condition, then the parents are at fault. As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that you child eats a healthy and balanced diet and also gets daily exercise. Kids aren't as active as they used to be. Video games and computers are often the after school activities of choice, rather than playing some touch football or going for a bicycle ride with some neighborhood pals. Children should not be living dormant lives. Just remember: physical health goes hand-in-hand with mental health.



Family

It may be hard for some parents to accept, but often times, the root of a child's stress is their family and home life. Regardless of what your family structure is, parents and caregivers should remember that their behavior can drastically affect a child's stress level. Do not fight with your spouse in front of your kid. You may not realize it, but this behavior is very traumatic to a child. If you are divorced, do not bad mouth your ex in front of your child. If there are big changes going on in your home, you may want to consider setting your child up to talk with a school counselor or a therapist in your area. Contrary to the beliefs of too many parents, children are not oblivious to what is going on around them and with their family members.

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