Stress In Kids: How to Help Your Children

Stress in Kids - Help Your Child Like a Pro:

Stress in kids is everywhere.  The earliest I can remember being stressed was when I was a little boy living in Brooklyn.  My mother had dropped me off for my first day of kindergarten. I was terrified and experienced my first dose of separation anxiety.  It felt like the end of the world!


Just to be clear, I use a broad range to define a “kid.”  Everything is a matter of perspective. 


Stress in kids can be a result of myriad causes such as school and social media bullying, image/weight issues, test taking, witnessing relationship problems between their parents, and just trying to figure out how to grow up.  Sadly, it can also be the result of having to face the challenges of mental illness.  I have experienced all of these.


I would stress out about having to go to school after being bullied and called a “Hog” by a classmate when I sat down at lunch time.  How’s that for self-esteem building?  It’s no surprise I was stressed out having to go to lunch after that episode.     


It can also be self-inflicted.  I would worry so much about my “future.”  If I got a B on my test instead of an A, I would tell myself that I wouldn’t get into a good University, I would end up with a “bad” job and be unable to prosper in life.


For me, the pinnacle of “stress in kids” was when I first experienced anxiety and depression – especially when I made the decision to seek the help of a therapist.  I was verbally assaulted by a family member who told me that it would go on my “permanent record” and that my life was basically ruined.


I was also threatened that I would be kicked out of the house if I didn’t get my shit together (stop being anxious and depressed). Thanks for the support!  This is one of the main reasons why it is my passion to set the record straight and encourage all who deal with the struggle of mental illness to peacefully and legally defend themselves.  You count in this world.


In terms of younger children, I encourage parents to be mindful of the signs of stress in kids.  Bear in mind that kids can’t always communicate what’s on their minds.  Their stress can manifest itself by soiling themselves, “feeling sick” and not wanting to go to school, increased effort to be at the side of a parent(s), eating more or less than usual, hiding in their room and avoiding social situations, or just being quieter than usual.


Parents must make a concerted effort to approach their kids and get them to talk about what’s on their mind.  They are the first line of defense.  They are the most influential people in their children’s life and should take every step necessary to deal with this challenge delicately.  Their words can build a child or scar them for life.


Equally important, I encourage kids to be courageous and talk to their parents.  They love you and want to be there for you. If you feel more comfortable seeking the help of a therapist or school counselor, do that.  It is possible to face and overcome (or at least manage) all sources of stress.


Peace to you and yours. ~Ted       

Stress in kids: ~parts adapted via
Recognize the signs

Signs of stress and anxiety in children often show up as physical or behavioral changes.

It's important for parents to recognize the signs of childhood stress and to look for possible causes.

Some common BEHAVIORAL signs of stress in kids include:

  • Behavioral changes, such as moodiness, aggression, a short temper, or clinginess
  • Development of a nervous habit, such as nail-biting
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fears (such as fear of the dark, being alone, or of strangers)
  • Getting into trouble at school
  • Hoarding items of seeming insignificance
  • Refusal to go to school
  • Withdrawing from family or friends

Some common PHYSICAL signs of stress in kids include:

  • Bedwetting
  • Complaints of stomachaches or headaches
  • Decreased or increased appetite
  • Other physical symptoms
  • Sleep problems or nightmares

Stress in kids: Common causes

  • Academic pressure: Many children experience anxiety about wanting to do well in school. Academic pressure is particularly common in children who are afraid of making mistakes or who are afraid of not being good at something.
  • Big changes in the family: Major life changes such as divorce, a death in the family, moving, or the addition of a new sibling can shake your child’s sense of security, leading to confusion and anxiety. For example, a new sibling can make a child feel threatened and jealous. A death in the family can create alarm and grief and may trigger fears about death and dying.
  • Bullying: Bullying is a serious problem for many children. It can be subtle, or obvious, and may lead to physical harm. Children who are bullied often feel embarrassed about being targeted, and they may hide the bullying from parents or teachers for fear of drawing attention to their perceived weaknesses.
  • Catastrophic event on the news: News headlines and images showing natural disasters, terrorism, and violence can be upsetting for children. When kids see and hear about terrible news events, they may worry that something bad might happen to them or to someone they love.
  • Parental instability: Money and job concerns, family turmoil, and parental agitation can lead to an overwhelming sense of powerlessness for children who may feel that they want to help, but don't have the means to do so.
  • Popularity: For younger grade-schoolers, separation anxiety can be a common problem. As they get older, most children want to fit in with other kids and be liked; the pressure to fit in and be popular can be agonizing. Cliques and the feeling of being excluded usually become an issue once kids enter grade school.
  • Overly-packed schedules: Constantly running from one activity to another can cause a great deal of stress for children who usually need some quiet downtime every once in a while.
  • Scary movies or books: Fictional stories can also cause distress or anxiety in children. Children are commonly affected by frightening, violent, or upsetting scenes from a movie or passages in a book.

Let Hypnosis Be Your Reset Button!!!

Stress in kids: How to help your child

At Home

  • Create a relaxed home atmosphere and commit to a routine. Family dinners or game nights can prevent anxiety and help relieve stress.
  • Make your home a calm, safe, and secure place to come to.
  • Monitor your child's television shows, video games, and books.

Keep Them Involved

  • Allow for opportunities where your child can have control over a situation in their life.
  • Give your child a heads up on any anticipated changes and talk through the new scenarios with them. For example, if you will be taking a new job in a new city, what will that mean for them in terms of a new school, new friends, and a new home?
  • Involve your child in social and sports activities where they can succeed.

Your Actions

  • Adopt healthy habits such as exercise and self-care to manage your own stress in healthy ways. Children often mimic their parents' behaviors.
  • Keep an eye out for new signs and behaviors of unresolved stress.
  • Learn to really listen to your child without being critical or solving problems for them. Provide guidance to teach your child ways to understand and solve the problems that upset them.
  • Provide affection and encouragement.
  • Use positive reinforcement and methods of discipline that promote healthy self-esteem.