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Information about stress in childhood
Childhood stress can be caused by any situation that requires a person to adapt or change. The situation often produces anxiety. Stress may be caused by positive changes, such as starting a new activity, but it is most commonly linked with negative changes such as illness or death in the family.
Stress is a response to any situation or factor that creates a negative emotional or physical change or both. People of all ages can experience stress.
In small quantities, stress is good -- it can motivate you and help you be more productive.
However, excessive stress can interfere with life, activities, and health. Stress can affect the way people think, act, and feel.
Children learn how to respond to stress by what they have seen and experienced in the past. Most stresses experienced by children may seem insignificant to adults, but because children have few previous experiences from which to learn, even situations that require small changes can have enormous impacts on a child's feelings of safety and security.
Pain, injury, and illness.

Medical treatments produce even greater stress.
Recognition of parental stress
e.g.divorce, financial crisis
Death or loss of a loved one.
=> Physical symptoms
=> Decreased appetite, other changes in eating habits
=> Headache
=> New or recurrent bedwetting
=> Nightmares
=> Sleep disturbances
=> Stuttering
=> Upset stomach or vague stomach pain
=> Other physical symptoms with no physical illness
=> Emotional or behavioural symptoms
=> Anxiety
=> Worries
=> Inability to relax
=> New or recurring fears (fear of the dark,
     fear of being alone, fear of strangers)
=> Clinging, unwilling to let you out of sight
=> Questioning 
=> Anger
=> Crying
=> Whining
=> Inability to control emotions
=> Aggressive behaviour
=> Stubborn behaviour
=> Regression to behaviours that are typical of an earlier developmental stage
=> Unwillingness to participate in family or school activities
Parents can help children respond to stress in healthy ways. e.g.:
=> Provide a safe, secure, familiar, consistent, and dependable home.
=> Be selective in the television programs that young children watch (including news broadcasts), which can produce fears and anxiety.
=> Spend calm, relaxed time with your children.
=> Encourage your child to ask questions.
=> Encourage expression of concerns, worries, or fears.
=> Listen to your child without being critical.
=> Build your child's feelings of self-worth.
     Use encouragement and affection.
     Try to involve your child in situations where he or she can succeed.
=> Try to use positive encouragement and reward instead of punishment.
=> Allow the child opportunities to make choices and have some control in his or her life. This is particularly important, because research shows that the more people feel they have control over a situation, the better their response to stress will be.
=> Encourage physical activity.
=> Develop awareness of situations and events that are stressful for children. These include:
  -- new experiences,
  -- fear of unpredictable outcomes,
  -- unpleasant sensations,
  -- unmet needs or desires, 
  -- loss.
=> Recognize signs of unresolved stress in your child.
=> Keep your child informed of necessary and anticipated changes such as changes in jobs or moving
=> Seek professional help or advice when signs of stress do not decrease or disappear.
An open, accepting flow of communication in families helps to reduce anxiety and depression in children. Encourage your children to discuss their emotions and help them discuss simple ways to change the stressful situation or their response to it.
Below are some tips that children can follow themselves to help reduce stress:
=> Talk about your problems. 
     If you cannot communicate with your parents,
     try someone else that you can trust.
=> Relax. Listen to calm music.
     Take a warm bath. Close your eyes and
     take slow deep breaths.
=> Take some time for yourself.
     If you have a hobby or favourite activity,
     give yourself time to enjoy it.
=> Exercise. Physical activity reduces stress.
=> Set realistic expectations. Do your best, and
     remember that nobody is perfect.
=> Learn to love and respect yourself.
=> Respect others. Be with people who accept
     and respect you.
=> Drugs and alcohol never solve problems.
=> Ask for help if you are having problems
     managing your stress.
original article: here.
related articles:
Childhood stress contributes to adult
Early Childhood Stress Has Lingering Effects On Health [ScienceDaily]
[C2NN] Abused Kids More Prone to Migraines in Adulthood
click here
Oct 17, 2009
"At every instant of our lives, change is guaranteed. We fight to keep it away, or work to get it here sooner because we think we know what should happen. We are certain (sometimes rightly!) that the change coming toward us will ruin or kill us. We think and hope that the right change will fix us (or them or it) once and for all."
  - "Making Peace with Change" by Gangaji, Care2 link
   "Few admit the enormous failure rate of attempts to change people's behaviour - in marketing, in public policy, in (change) management and in our daily lives. It's really hard to set out to change behaviour - far better to help the behaviour change itself..."
   "(We)...overestimate the role of conscious or directed following. An alternative reading of the literature would suggest that much of the time we do what those around us are doing, think what they're thinking and feel what they're feeling. Our lives, as Wilde put it, are quotations from the lives of others - even if it seems otherwise to each of us."
   - "Herd - the hidden truth about who we are" link
The Stages of Readiness to Change
   This is a 'model' or framework for thinking about change, for people who want/need to change behaviour patterns and habits, e.g. smoking, unhealthy eating and exercise habits. It can also be applied to any major life decision where a person may be 'in two minds' about it, such as whether to leave a job or stay.
In this model, people move 'from being unaware or unwilling to do anything about the problem, to considering the possibility of change, then to becoming determined and prepared to make the change, and finally to taking action and sustaining or maintaining the change over time'. As you can imagine, this is not always a straightforward process.
Proachaska and DiClemente also emphasise that 'moving through the stages of change requires effort and energy for thinking, planning and doing'. No wonder even thinking about change can make you a bit tired!
...   Precontemplation = before thinking about change
...   Contemplation = thinking it over
...   Preparation / Determination = making a decision to change  
...   Action!
...   Maintenance
= keeping going
...   Relapse = slipping back
It is important to remember that people often cycle through these stages a number of times before they successfully change a particular pattern of behaviour, so don't give up the first time - think of it as spiralling upward rather than going round in circles!
Spiral Of Change Diagram

 Timetable details here.
The above is based on information provided by
WHISC - Women's Health: Interventions for Smoking Cessation and from "Motivational Interviewing: Preparing people for change" (2nd Ed) by Miller and Rollnick (2002).
A Behavior Change Model by Prochaska and Diclemente (Changing for Good, James O. Prochaska, John C. Norcross, Carlo C. Diclemente, 1994)
See also
Jul 7, 2008

The Garnaud Report: Australia will be hit hard...

Australia will be hit hard...

Are you one of the majority of Australians
who urgently want our country
to cut our greenhouse pollution?

Most Australians don't have time to read
Professor Garnaut's shocking 600-page climate report, so read a quick clip that summarises it fast,
what it means for Australia - and what it means for you.

Garnaut is already under fire from a "scare campaign"
being waged by the polluting industries'
lobby groups and the Opposition.

That is why it's so important that
you can pick a good climate solution from a bad one.

The Garnaut Review found that Australia
will be hit hard by climate change.

click here for climate action now


If we do nothing, our grandkids will be living in a very different Australia, one where agriculture in the Murray Darling Basin has all but ended, the Great Barrier Reef has been destroyed, snow-based tourism in Australia is no longer viable, and 5.5 million Australians will be exposed to Dengue fever.

That's why it's important that you understand the climate solutions being proposed to solve the crisis ahead as the PM looks to the Australian public in formulating his response to Garnaut on July 16.

click here for climate action now 

Visibility: Everyone
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Posted: Jul 7, 2008 12:57pm


Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.


Jenny Dooley
, 3, 2 children
Eastlakes, SW, Australia
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