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Childhood isn't all fun and games. Even young children can feel worried and stressed.
Stress can come from outside, such as family, friends, and school. It can also come from children themselves. Just like adults, children often expect too much of themselves and then feel stressed when they feel that they have failed.
It is important to recognize stress in children and teens and help them find healthy coping strategies. The strategies they learn often stay with them into adulthood.
Generally, anything that may cause children fear and anxiety can cause stress. This can include being away from home, starting a new school or moving to a new location, being separated from parents or caregivers, worrying about school and getting along with others, worrying about their changing bodies, and worrying about the future.
The following are some common signs of stress in different age
Preschool and toddlers
Preteens and teens
I don't have to worry about my child feeling stress except in extreme situations.
Anything that may cause children fear and anxiety can cause stress. This can include being away from home, starting a new school, or worrying about the future.
Continue to Why?
Some stress is normal and
even useful. Stress can help your child if he or she needs to work hard or react quickly. For
example, it can help your child win a race or finish important homework on time.
But if stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad
effects. It can be linked to headaches, an upset stomach, back pain, and
trouble sleeping. It can weaken your child's
immune system, making it harder to fight off disease.
If your child already has a health problem, stress may make it worse. It can make your child moody, tense, or depressed. He or she may not do
well at school.
Learning how to deal with stress is an important part of growing up. You can't keep your children from feeling stressed, but you can teach them what to do when stressful situations occur.
Too much stress can actually make my child sick.
Too much stress can weaken your child's immune system, making it harder to fight off disease.
Continue to How?
Adults can help children and teens with stress in many ways. Three
important things you can do are to:
It is important to help children learn positive coping skills. These skills are often carried into adult life.
Finding ways to get stress out of their systems will help children feel better. The best ways to relieve
stress are different for each person. Try some of these ideas to see which ones
work for your child:
If my child is feeling stressed, then he or she should avoid exercise.
Regular exercise is one of the best
ways to manage stress.
Continue to Where?
Now that you have read this information, you are ready to help your child with stress.
Talk to your doctor
If you have questions about this information, print it out and take it with you when you visit your doctor. You may want to mark areas or make notes in the margins where you have questions.
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December 9, 2011
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Catherine D. Serio, PhD - Behavioral Health
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