Coping with Stress
According to psychologists, childhood stress seems to be on the rise. Stress is a function of the demands placed on us versus our ability to handle them. Adults know what it is like when the demands increase and your ability to meet them diminishes. Stomachaches, headaches, sleepless nights, and high-blood pressure result. But in children, the stresses turns into not wanting to go to school. Stomach aches, headaches, crying, bad dreams, hypersensitivity, crabbiness and withdrawal from activities results.
What are the causes of this stress? The top stresses for children are often school or family-related. Peer pressure, personal appearance, friendship, teasing, undue criticism, perfectionism are leading causes of stress. Often times divorce, illness, overscheduling, and other family matters causes a sharp increase in stress.
So what can parents do to help their child cope with stress? One way is to reduce a schedule that is too full. Another way to reduce stress is to talk about their fears. Listen to and reassure your children that they are safe. Let them know that Jesus is with them. He promised, “Surely, I am with you always, even to the very end of the age.” Remind them that Jesus sends angels to watch over them.
Books like, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst; and Tear Soup by Pat Schweibert help young children identify with characters experiencing stress. Most parents have the skills to deal with their child’s stress. However, there is a time to seek professional assistance when any change in behavior persists, when there is serious anxiety, or when the child is acting out and causing significant problems at school or at home. Thank God that we are able to use God’s Word with its many promises of God’s constant love & protection. His powerful Word helps put the heart and mind at ease.