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Jan 11, 2010
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


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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