Children and Stress
Nowadays even children are feeling stressed, gone are the days when they only know how to have fun and enjoy childhood. So did we actually feed them with stress? Managing stress is really important because if we do not then stress would be our life , we should start managing our own stress as well as teach the younger generation how to manage them.
Parents and family failed to realize that children are more stressed and can have a lasting impact on them.
A recent news in my local newspaper about a 14 year old girl falling from her 11th floor apartment made me think what could have driven them to make such choices.
As I always say I am no expert in this line but I am a keen observer, so I write based on my personal experience and my observations. So lets see if my view can actually help us to take control of our life and change us from being Stressed to being Blessed
Source of Childhood Stress
Stress starts at very young age, especially when parents start forcing them to participate in activities that may actually be of no interest to them. Many parents want their children to excel in academics, sporting activities and additional activities like music or dancing lessons. The key word here is 'Excel' which means exceptionally good.
Some parents push their children to become the person they (the parents) fantasized to be. Probably the dad wanted to be 'footballer' or the mother wanted to become a doctor, so they start forcing the children towards this dream.
For most children who are in the process of personality development and natural hormonal changes adding this 'activities' forcefully may trigger their stress.
Some children who face problems in school like bullies, or family problems like divorce, death or illness may also feel stressed.
Like the girl in the news, she was embarrassed by something that happened in her school that she did not want to go back there or face the people. She made a choice of ending her life.
Other factors like poverty also contributes to stress. Poverty causes hunger which is experienced physically by the innocent kid. Hunger leads to malnutrition which causes a child does not have enough for proper development .
United Nations under the UNICHEF wing records the following " More than 30 per cent of children in developing countries – about 600 million – live on less than US $1 a day.Every 3.6 seconds one person dies of starvation. Usually it is a child under the age of 5.Poverty hits children hardest."
Physical Abuse on children is another reason for this young being. Stress causes an adult to act abusive towards innocent persons, in many cases the partner or children are victimized. The result of this abuse consequences to stress of the 'receiving' party.
Each child is unique in their own way. No two children in the same family have same attributes, some similarity in character can be there. Many factors contribute to the children's personality. Even though they may grow in the same environment, socialize with same community, surrounded by same culture. Even twins possess different likableness.
As a parent or guardian, we have to identify what is the 'Underlying emotion' of our child. Many of this children are confused and lost. At times when they are developing and finding their own identity , they are sometimes forced to follow the parents desires.
Parents have always been complaining of children being difficult. How far is this true, could they take a moment to sit back and reflect their own acts. Could they be the difficult parent ??
Are you a parent who consistently nags your child to change, to loose weight, watch what they eat, force them to do chores ?
Are you a parent who consistently argue and fight in the house with your partner, in laws or neighbors ?
Are you a parent who always show your worries of financial difficulties ?
Are the grandparents or some relatives always involve themselves in the upbringing of your children ?
Could you be the cause of your child's stress ??
There are many reasons for children to rebel and the main one being 'Strong Hand' . What 'strong hand' here means, parents or guardians who put up too many rules and regulations in their children's activities. Stop being too bossy !!
Another reason as mentioned earlier, 'hormone in the drives seat' as the child is attains puberty. They start struggling for power and to make decisions for themselves as they start experiencing changes in their body and mind.
Of course pushing the young adults to do things that is of no interest to them, makes them feel as though they are in a prison called family.
There is 'Celebrity Culture' where the children want to have an identity that resembles their favorite celebrity. They might face pressure from some group who undermine the interest, and of course problem with money in order to keep up with the trend. When they are not able to copy somethings they might feel stressed especially concerning image, like wanting to be thinner and sexier. I have explored into this in another hub Celebrity Culture
Violence in the society
The increasing violence like war, robbery, murder, shooting can also give stress to this young hearts.
Events like 'school shooting', there seems to be more then 50 shooting cases listed in Wikipedia from the year 2000 in United States alone
Children will surely be afraid that something like this could happen to them or their family. The television and other media seem to show almost every moment of this crime and the innocent children watching them.
Here is an example of a School Shooting incident a year ago. View the images and listen to the news but view it from the angle of being 'the child'
Finding themselves to be not fitting in any group, with parents, family or friends some children become loners. They feel like wanting to be with some people and at the same time they do not want to be with others. They fear that someone may ask them to leave because 'they do not belong' so they start to separate themselves from everyone. They feel like having a friendship or a relationship but they become coward when the time comes.
Roles we play
Parents play the biggest role in identifying the specialty and individuality of each child. As we have mentioned no two child is alike, one would be an athlete, one a doctor, one a businessman and one gardener. Give the child room to breath and show their interest and talent.
Good communication with children includes :
- Listening to them ~ encourage them to talk
- Encourage them to talk ~ all matters ~ their fear, embarrassment, shame, love, fear, happy moments, anger, disappointments
- Do not be judgmental ~ if we keep jumping at everything they say, they will start reserving information. Do not criticize or be angry.
- Show Interest ~ this is important too, participate in their
- Time management ~ set time for this 'sharing moments' as children may feel they are disturbing when you are busy.
- Do not shout or scold them for everything, try to make them realize in an easy way. Children are sensitive and may end up keeping secrets from you to avoid confrontation
It is a part of parents duty to advise children on their activities or desires but you have to come up with a technique so as not to look too pushy. Just like us the adults who do not like to be advised most times.
Good Family Relationship
A good family relationship will help the child to feel protected and secure. Spend quality time as a family especially during mealtime or share some activities as a family.
It is best for parents to avoid any arguments or fights in front of children as this can cause stress and confusion in the minds of this young hearts. As much as we can, have them out of home (or if you have sound proof rooms)
Children are like 'sponge' they absorb everything, parents should practice respecting each other in front of the children, they should also express love and treat them as equal as the adults in the family.
Sometimes in some family, parents show favoritism which is choosing one child over the other. This should be avoided as it does not only cause rivalry among siblings it may cause psychological issue
Finally be committed to your family and children. Help the family grow closer and always be there for your children.
Other then the family, many other factors such as friends, school, teachers, relatives and society on the whole plays a big significant role in a child's life.
Although parents are morally responsible over the development of a child, the society which includes the school, teacher, friends and strangers also play a big role. So many different character and traits are around this young children who can absorb everything like a sponge.
So adults especially parents have to keep discussing openly on this issue with there children in order to keep them motivated positively.
- Childhood Stress
Being a kid doesn't always mean being carefree - even the youngest tots worry. Find out what stresses kids out and how to help them cope.
- Family donates corneas of girl who fell to her death - Nation | The Star Online
GEORGE TOWN: The corneas of a 14-year-old were donated after the girl, accused of cheating in a school examination, fell to her death from the balcony of her 11th floor apartment in Jelutong here.