Kids face stress all the way
Rapid digitalization, mechanization, and urbanization have unfortunately taken a heavy toll on the childhood of our children. Children increasingly prefer spending more time with their devices, rather than with friends, indoors rather than outdoors, passively rather than actively. Physical activities have been replaced with digital activities and friendly conversations with social media engagements. And the one frightful thing all this is resulting in to is – our children feeling stressed, like never before.
There was a time when childhood used to be about having fun, sheer joy & happiness with unending energy, exuberance, carefree approach to life. Not only have the causes of childhood stresses increased dramatically over the past 2 decades, but the availability (& quality) of stress busters has also been rapidly declining. Nuclearization of families, both parents working and carrying their work stress home, ever-increasing competition at school, particularly at the secondary levels, have all meant that our children are getting forced to grow up faster, without adequate emotional cushion, and the precious childhood is getting eroded in the process.
The absence of the needed minimal ‘personal touch’ has meant that even the seemingly petty (and common) issues like being bullied by seniors in a school bus, being scolded by a teacher in class or adolescent infatuations can have a cumulative effect on their personality, and eventually health – physical & mental. Children may develop health challenges – physical & psychological - that include becoming introverts, depression, unexplained aggression, anxiety, inability to concentrate, lack of interest – both in studies and sports. Children are increasingly getting used to taking violence and pain as parts of life. These impact self-esteem, and the ability to care for others. Amongst physical disorders, childhood obesity is a commonly reported problem. In some extreme cases, even cardiovascular problems and strokes have been reported.
Symptoms of stress with kids
The symptoms are sometimes very obvious, but look for anything unusual:
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Moody and irritable
- Withdrawal from day to day activities
- Physical illness like a headache or stomach ache
- Lack of appetite
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of interest in studies
Some remedial actions
- Reschedule the activities like getting up, breakfast time etc.
- Allow them to get enough sleep
- Listen to them and engage them in conversation
- Make them relaxed with deep breathing, entertainment etc.
- Curtail too much of non-sports extra-curricular activities
- Have more time as a family
- Do not criticize or talk negatively
- Instill a positive attitude
- Reduce the usage of mobile and TV usage as a family principle
- Accept hormonal change as normal
- If nothing else would, you and your kid need counseling
- As a parent, you should be de-stressed first to have an effective tool in implementing it on your kids.
Acceptance and reconciliation
Prepare your kids to deal with mistakes and failures. The parents should leave their authoritative mentality and find out the comfort zone of the kids. The parents should try to find out what exactly is troubling the child. You have to be passionate and sympathetic. De-stressing is a long drawn process, and no quick fix solution is available. Parents should be patient during the entire process.
Let the children know that you are there for them. Try to initiate the conversation if you notice that the child is having a bad day. Feeling understood and listened helps your child feel supported by you. The kids should know that you care for them and they are not alone in this fight against stress.
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