- Parents should make sure that children get proper sleep
- Parents must be honest with their child at all times
- Social relationships must be monitored, and peer pressure checked
In the modern day, stress is an in-excludable part of our everyday lives. Our lives are such, that we can reduce stress, but can't get rid of it. It also seems to have already transcended all age boundaries, with children and adults feeling the heat alike. Adolescence, in particular, is a time of changing features, fluctuating emotions, and peaking hormones. Thus, stress levels are bound to be extremely variable. Parents must always be on the lookout for signs of trouble, and must be well aware of the potential causes of the same.
Here are the top causes of childhood stress, and how you can effectively counter the same:
1. Academic pressure: Grades, homework, college decisions, career choices and examinations. All of these make for a devastating combination for stress levels in teenagers. There will be times of turmoil, when one or more of these facets of your academic life isn't going to plan. Well, in times like these, you can set smaller goals for yourself, and break tasks into manageable sections. Most importantly, one must learn from their mistakes and not dwell on them. Parents can play an important role, by easing the pressure on their child, by keeping their confidence high, and in extreme cases, even contacting the teacher to express their concerns.
2. Social life troubles: School and college life is full of social life troubles. Friendships and relationships will always have their ups and downs. The child must not keep these problems bottled up, and it is important that parents make room for the conversation to take place, with someone the child trusts, and be available themselves as well.
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3. Familial turmoil: Troubles with the senior members of a family, will mostly be out of control of the child. In the events of a divorce, illness, death, and arguments, the children will face a serious lack of trust in their immediate surroundings, thus making them feel stressed. It is important that parents be completely honest with their children at this stage, and not try to make the child pick sides. Parents must ensure that their child is eating regularly, has sufficient play time (at least one hour daily) and is sleeping on time. An imbalance in these factors, will only worsen the child's mental health.
4. Lifestyle changes: An upcoming change in lifestyle, like changing neighbourhoods, schools or cities can trigger undesired emotional responses. Parents must keep their child informed, and part of the decision making process, and encourage children to express their feelings.
5. World events: Terrorist attacks, acts of discrimination and political upheaval can trouble children, making them feel unsafe. Parents must take steps to make the child safe, which differ from child to child. Dropping them to school themselves, speaking to counsellors and teachers and attempting to talk through the problems are some viable solutions.
6. Peer pressure: Pressure to look a certain way, do certain things, and consume certain substances, is extremely common in schools around the country. Parents must make their child aware of the harmful effect of substance abuse, and talk through the problems that arise with an adolescent body. Use of encouragement and natural consequences as learnings for when the child makes poor decisions is seen to work exceedingly well.
7. Extra-curricular pressure: Students tend to cram their schedule, with numerous activities, some of which, they don't even want to do. The child must be able to let go of third-party expectations, and focus on what works for them, identify their unique strengths and build on them. Scheduling breaks is extremely important for children to keep their thoughts under control, and brain usable. Parent's must ensure that their child is not over-scheduling, and mustn't add excessive pressure at this stage.
8. Other strategies to handle the stress: While the above have been targeted response strategies to cope with the stress, parents must ensure that the child is not putting his/her physical health in jeopardy. Sleep, nutrition and exercise must be maintained at desired levels. Simultaneously, monitoring entertainment choices, friendships and relationships are important, but none of this must come at the cost of a break in trust with the child.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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