Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed. We feel overwhelmed when what we think we should be doing is more than what we feel able to do. This feeling isn’t just one for adults but also children.
For young kids, being separated from mum and dad can be stressful. As they get older, stress can be created from a variety of places: home, academic and social pressures (especially trying to fit in). A key difference between adults and children is recognition of feelings. No matter what age the kids are talking to them can help them to understand what they are going through and find solutions to how they are feeling.
Let’s look at some examples.
Your child may complain about their activities and some may refuse to go. The reasons behind this may derive from feeling overwhelmed rather than naughty or stubborn behaviours. Talking with your child about how they feel about extracurricular activities can help get to the bottom of whether they feel overwhelmed. It may help to discuss the pros and cons of stopping an activity. If there isn’t the option to stop activities, or perhaps not the desire, it is worth looking at how your child can manage their time in different ways e.g. only watch TV when homework is finished. With todays busy schedules and pressures on children, many don’t find enough time to relax and play. It is worth considering if you can add time for this into your kid’s schedule.
Kids can reflect parents behaviours and hear, and understand, a lot more than we often give credit for. If your child hears you talking about troubles at work or an illness or an argument or even world news, your child might start to worry about this themself and, at their age, feel powerless to do anything to help fix the problem. Try to be aware of what your child hears and see and talk to them about what they see and hear. Monitoring what they see on the internet and watch on TV can help you understand what’s might be going on inside their mind.
Even the most amicable divorce can be difficult for kids to understand. Kids should never be put in a position of having to choose sides or be exposed to negative comments about the other spouse as this can be extremely overwhelming.
Remember not to dismiss their feelings as inappropriate as what might not be important to you might be very important to them.