Is Your Stress Harming Your Kids?
By Aviva Patz
Is stress harming your kids? Money worries, job demands and a lengthy to-do list have us stressed to the max … and it’s taking a toll on our kids. A 2010 survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that children who said their parents were stressed said they were stressed too. They reported feeling sad, worried or frustrated — and their parents had no idea, according to the survey.
Stress is bad for your well-being, but it puts kids at risk too. Numerous studies show that chronic tension is damaging to children’s mental, physical and oral health. “Our children pick up our feelings and concerns. When we’re stressed, it makes them worry. And when we’re calm, they feel more secure and content,” says educational psychologist Michelle Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries.
Here, a few research-proven and expert-recommended tips to ID stress effects in your kids, reduce their anxiety, and keep your own tension in check.
Spot the stress signs. Since most kids can’t just come out and say, “I’m stressed!” the APA advises watching for these red flags:
- Acting irritable or moody
- Withdrawing from favorite activities
- Expressing concerns
- Complaining more than usual
- Clinging to a parent or teacher
- Sleeping or eating too much or too little
- Experiencing stomachaches and headaches, which can be a side-effect of stress