Childhood Stress

A child experiences stress in everyday situations and because he can not verbalize what he is feeling, he may “act-up”. Tantrums, fighting, and withdrawl may all be a child’s cry for relief from stress.  The following lists some everyday stresses children may go throguh as well as some “do-able” solutions which can relieve the children’s tension and frustration.

Habutually Being Late:

  • Emotion: Embarrassment, Shyness when walking into class that has started, Frustration
  • Reaction: Crying, Yelling at Parents, Irritable
  • Solution: Set clocks ahead 15 minutes. Be aware that being late affects everyone involved.  Be sensitive and respect your child’s desire to be “on-time”.  As a parent, commit to heing “on-time”.

No Clean Clothes:

  • Emotion: Embarrassment, Frustration, Powerlessess
  • Reaction: Crying, Yelling at Parents
  • Solution: Child can check his clothing at night and inform parents if he needs anything.  A child as young as 8 can learn to do his own wash.

Getting Lost:

  • Emotion: Fear of not being found, Fear of parents’ being angry, embarrassment
  • Reaction: Panicked, Cryng, Clingly-when  found
  • Solutions: Tahc your child to be aware of her surroundsing while in public places; point out sighns, stores, etc.  Choose a meeting place “just in case” you become spearated.  Tell a small child to stnad still until you come to her.

Being Teased/ Picked on by other siblings:

  • Emotion: Anger, Embarrassment, Overwhelmed, Inadequate
  • Reaction: Acting-up, Low self-esteem, Aggressiveness, Crying
  • Solution: Help your child to accept who he is by telling him, “This is how you were made; you are wonderful just as you are and things people say can’t change that.”  Teach your child to ignore comments; emotional reactions encourage the “teasers”.  Role-play the situation with your child.  Encourage respect among siblings.  Encourage your child to talk about his feelings.  Acknowledge your child’s pain

Too Many Activities:

  • Emotion: Overwhelmed, Frustration
  • Reaction: Tired, Irritable, Talking back, Listless, Resistance
  • Solution: Limit the numebr of extracurricular activities.  Help your child to focus on 1 or 2 activities.  A child needs balance between sports, the arts, and fun.

New Situtations:

  • Emotion: Fear of the unknown, Shyness
  • Reaction: Clingy, Whiny, Uncooperative
  • Solution: Prepare your child for a new sitter, day care, etc.- tell him who he will be with and when you will be back.  Avoid scolding or labeling yoru child bout feeling shy.  This has a “negative” connotation and “stamps” that label to your child.  Being shy is a feeling–it’s not who your child is.  Be enthusiastic and positive about going to dentists, doctors, etc.  Do not put your own fears onto your child.

Child being Rushed:

  • Emotion: Overwhelmed, Inadequacy
  • Reaction: Become “frozen”, Uncooperative, Yelling at Parents
  • Solution: Give your child “notice”.  Recognize that it takes your child longer to complete a task you’ve been doing for years.  Allow child to work at her own pace.  Be Patient.

Forgetting Things:

  • Emotion: Anger, Embarrassment, low self-esteem
  • Reaction: Frustration, Yelling at Parents, Withdrawl
  • Solution: Encourage your child to write you a nore when he need things.  Post the note on a bulletin board or refriderator.  Write information on calendar.  Teach your child to look at the calender each day.

Encouragement: A publication by Angela DiCicco and Gail Signor

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