Stress is a normal response to the various situations that need to be faced. Stress refers to a normal physical and psychological reaction towards the amount of demands that are constantly changing. Demands usually arise from external factors such as family, friends, work, or school. Stress is a normal reaction when an individual feels overwhelmed. Therefore, stress can affect anyone, including children.
So, what are the causes of stress in the Little One? With the rapidly developing modern age, there are also more demands experienced by the Little One. Sources of stress can be from the academic aspect, such as difficult or large quantity of subject matters in school or a list of extracurricular activities that needs to be done after school.
Other than that, if parents are too demanding of the Little One to comply to their wishes, this could also stimulate stress to occur. The social aspect also plays a role. If the Little One finds it difficult to socialize or is less popular among their friends, this could be a burden in itself. Differences in socioeconomic status can also make the Little One to feel a lack of confidence if they are in an environment that is not in accordance to their circumstances.
Other factors that may play a role include family problems. The function of the family, which is essentially to provide peace, protection, and happiness, will be affected if there is a disharmonious relationship between parents or family members, or in the event of a loss of a family member due to death or divorce.
Recognizing the symptoms of stress in the Little One is not always easy, and short term behavioural changes – such as changes in mood, sleeping patterns, or bed-wetting – can be indicators. Some even experience physical symptoms such as headaches or abdominal pain. Other things that may occur include difficulties in concentrating while studying or completing a school assignment as well as preferring to be alone.
Symptoms that are often seen in children below school age include thumb sucking, hair twisting, or nose picking. A child experiencing stress may have a tendency to lie, oppose adults, overreact to small problems, or experience drastic changes in their academic grades.
How can parents help the Little One to overcome stress? By ensuring that they have adequate rest, balanced nutrition, and also mental support. Spend more time to interact with the Little One. Take them to do fun activities.
Helping the Little One to overcome stress would mean that parents should be able to communicate with them regarding the cause of stress. Together, they can discuss the alternative solutions to overcome stress. For instance, by reducing extracurricular activities, creating an exercise plan, or writing a diary.
Parents can also prevent the occurrence of stress by anticipating situations that can potentially induce stress. For instance, explain to the Little One regarding the school examination schedule and discuss studying plans so they do not feel overwhelmed.
Remember, stress, up to a certain extent, is a normal reaction. Allow the Little One to understand that feeling angry, afraid, lonely, or anxious is a normal thing. Instill in the Little One that you believe that they can handle any situation well.
However, if parents suspect that the stress level of the Little One is no longer reasonable, take them to consult a child psychiatrist. The doctor can conduct various therapies to help them, such as counselling, cognitive and behavioural therapy, family therapy, and others. If needed, the doctor can also provide medications for the Little One.
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