During this season of PSLE and national exams, it’s crucial to recognize stress factors in children and youth and offer them support. In this article, we’ll highlight some typical reasons for stress and explore ways to assist our children and youths.
1) What are some of the most common causes of stress in children these days?
Children often experience stress from schoolwork, peer bullying, parental discord, and over-scheduling with extracurricular activities.
2) Are certain types of children more susceptible to stress than others?
It is possible that children who experience ongoing abuse or chronic stress, lack stable family structures or support, and have mental health conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder or Autistic Spectrum Disorder may be more vulnerable to stress compared to their peers.
3) How can you tell if your kid is stressed? What are the most common symptoms to look for?
It can be difficult for children to express that they are feeling stressed. When experiencing stress, a child may display increased resistance towards completing tasks, become easily anxious, cry more frequently, and exhibit more tantrums. Additionally, they may struggle with falling asleep, have a decreased appetite, appear lethargic, and complain of physical ailments such as headaches or stomachaches.
4) What are the best ways to approach the subject of stress with your children? How do you bring it up to them, especially if they’re tweens or teens and don’t like to share their feelings?
It’s important to recognize that children can experience stress and may become overwhelmed. It shouldn’t be a taboo topic to discuss stress within the family. From a young age, encouraging conversations about stress and ways to cope can be beneficial, rather than dismissing it and expecting the child to tough it out without complaint.
Many tweens and teens may not want to talk to their parents because they feel misunderstood or ignored. Building a respectful relationship with your child and becoming a friend to them can help them feel comfortable coming to you during times of stress. Listening empathetically is key; offering advice from your own experiences or anecdotes can be helpful.
As a parent, it’s important to consider your long-term goals for your child. Do you want them to excel on the next exam or to become a happy and productive adult? By understanding your ultimate objective, setbacks along the way will not seem like permanent failures and will not cause excessive stress. Your child will still be on track for success.
Once you have established your primary goal, it’s crucial to have realistic expectations for your child’s abilities and limitations. You should tailor their schedule and activities accordingly. Some children can handle more demanding schedules, while others may need more time to complete their work. Unrealistic expectations are a major source of stress, while appropriate expectations can be motivating.
Encourage positive values by praising perseverance and placing importance on the process of achieving, rather than solely focusing on results or accomplishments. If your child has done their best, praise their effort instead of stressing over the outcome. This will help them feel good about themselves and maintain a positive outlook.
Adopting good habits, such as getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle with hobbies and enjoyable activities, can help your child stay mentally strong and resilient to stress.
6) Some schools in Singapore have mindfulness programs for their students to help them manage stress. But if you want to teach your kids such concepts at home, how do you go about it?
Engaging in psychological exercises, such as mindfulness training, is similar to physical exercise. Starting at a young age and incorporating them into your child’s routine as a priority can help them develop the necessary discipline to practice them regularly throughout their life.
Numerous apps and online videos exist to guide you and your children in these exercises. It’s recommended to do them together and be a good role model yourself. Attending holiday programs for such exercises can be a great first step in learning them and introducing your child to these practices.
7) How important is a stable family life and good parenting to helping children manage stress?
Having a stable family life and receiving good parenting are crucial for a child’s mental health and resilience when dealing with stress. Parents serve as role models for their children, with their love serving as building blocks for emotional stability and their guidance providing a roadmap to a mature and stable personality. While children can be resilient in the face of mistakes made by parents and other adults, an unstable family environment and toxic parenting, including abuse, can undoubtedly leave a child with low self-esteem, a negative outlook on the world, and an inability to handle life’s stressors.
If you’re looking for valuable insights into student burnout and how parents can identify it, look no further than this informative podcast from 2018. It remains just as relevant today as it was back then, so why not give it a listen?