For parents, childhood can seem to be a carefree time. But, dealing with emotional stress can be tough for kids who don’t yet have the maturity to go through difficult situations calmly and rationally. Parents need to ensure emotional well-being for their children for a happier childhood and better development.
Katherine Nordal, PhD, American Psychological Association‘s executive director for professional practice says parents should make themselves available and let their children know it’s OK to approach them if they’re worried about something.
“Parents need to be intentional about setting aside time to be available to their children,” she says. “If parents aren’t receptive, kids may feel like they’re being an additional burden on their parents by talking about their problems.”
Stress can be a sign of depression in children which can lead to future health problems. So it is essential to be aware of the signs of stress in kids and work towards curbing stress right away. Tremendous amount of neurological development takes place when kids are aged between 3 and 6, which impacted by undue stress, will lead to life-long consequences.
Here are some ways to help your kids cope with emotional stress:
Stay calm: Expressing too much concern can overwhelm your child and may even make matters worse. It’s important to stay calm when dealing with an off-spring who is going through emotional stress.
Talk to your child: Talk to your child one-on-one to find out the problem area. Sometimes, emotional stress of a child could be due to the pressures of growing up. Have a conversation about what they think and feel and why they are experiencing these feelings. Don’t be deterred if you feel that your child is not willing to talk or is getting upset. Gently encourage them and they will be more willing to open up and can talk about what is troubling them.
Provide a solution: Render various options to your child that could help him or her feel better and get their inputs on this as well. Listen to what they have to say regarding these and they will let you know what solutions and paths they are comfortable taking.
Lend support: Don’t criticise or undermine your child’s feelings of sadness, frustration or depression. This could lead them to isolate themselves further. Instead, acknowledge that their suffering is real and you are there to help them through it. Let them know how you deal with your problems and offer tips on how to be more positive.
Create a healthy environment. Your home and even social environment can influence your child’s behaviors. Changing your environment to a positive one can help alleviate stress. For example, cleaning up a cluttered environment can help and it teaches children to focus on those things they can control when feeling stressed.
Get expert help if necessary: If you feel that your child is exhibiting serious signs of emotional turmoil and even with your efforts their state of mind isn’t improving, seek a professional for advice. An expert can guide you and your child on how to overcome difficulties your child is facing.
Don’t lose hope: Sometimes getting through emotional turmoil can take longer period of time and effort. Focus on the positives and try not to feel disheartened if progress is slow.
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