Life is full of unpredictable changes. Some can be exciting and motivating, while others can lead to increased stress, poor health, and anxious feelings.
Stress is an automatic physical, mental, and emotional response to challenging events. It’s a normal part of everyone’s life, including the lives of children. Children, especially teenagers, aren’t likely to ask their parents to help them manage their stress. Sometimes, they don’t even recognize that they are feeling stressed out.
As a caregiver, you might notice something is off before they do. Helping your children manage their stress can lead to more balanced and healthier lives. Children aren’t miniature adults, and they may express stress in different ways than you might expect. According to mayoclinic.org, these are a few signs that your children may be stressed out.
1. Emotional outbursts or increased irritability
Stress leads to stronger feelings of anger and irritability. Your children may have emotional outbursts that are inconsistent with their previous behaviour or the current situation.
2. Trouble sleeping
Worries and fears seem to come out during bedtime. Stressed children may have trouble falling or staying asleep, or start having nightmares.
3. Withdrawing from others
Stressed children may want to spend more time alone and not interact with friends or family.
4. Struggles with school
Significant changes in your children’s school performance can be a sign of stress. Stress makes it harder for children to focus during the school day or when doing homework. Emotional outbursts and anger at school can cause trouble with friends and classmates.
5. Frequent headaches or stomach aches
When children are stressed or anxious, their bodies release the hormone cortisol into the blood. This can trigger abdominal cramps and headaches.
6. Increased defiance
Children under stress may feel angry or overwhelmed. They are seeking ways to get out of the situation that is causing them to feel uncomfortable. This can lead to defiant and stubborn behaviour.
Remember that children’s signs of stress can vary based on age, personality, and coping skills. The key is to watch for drastic or sudden changes in your children’s previous behaviours.
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