Children are susceptible to stress and worry just as adults are, and all children feel stress from time to time. Times of change like starting school, a brand new sibling or a family move can cause stress. Divorce, parental conflict or illness in the family can also be stressful for a child.
Tuning into emotional or behavioral cues is important in identifying potential problems and working with your young person to provide guidance and support during difficult times is essential.
Symptoms of stress in children
Irritability or unusual emotionality or volatility
Sleep difficulty or nightmares
Inability to concentrate
Drop in grades or other functioning
Toileting or eating concerns
Headaches or stomachaches
Unexplained fears or increased anxiety
Regression to earlier developmental levels
Isolation from family activities or peer relationships
How parents can help
Provide a safe, secure, familiar, consistent, and dependable home environment
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.
Use positive encouragement and reward more than punishment.
Allow the child opportunities to make choices and have some control in his or her life.
Seek professional help or advice when signs of stress are extreme or continue for a long period of time
You can help your child handle new or frustrating situations and teach ways of managing stress that will be valuable throughout his or her life. Visit depelchin.org
Parents know when something is troubling their child. The warning signs are often clear: problems at school, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, withdrawal from friends and family. To be sure, changes in a child's behavior are normal and a natural part of growing up. When the changes persist, however -- or seem to worsen -- it may be time to seek help. If you suspect your child is struggling with a mental health issue, don't wait. Turn to DePelchin Children's Center for help.
DePelchin believes that a child's mental health is just as important as his or her physical health. Through our expert team of psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors, we provide comprehensive care for a broad range of concerns, including ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety disorders, mood disorders and trauma. Learn more about Depelchin's mental health services.