By Michelle Schoon
We live in a society where caring parents will go to extraordinary lengths to develop their children’s intellectual abilities and spend a small fortune on all kinds of extra-curricular activities, ranging from art to sports. But how do you prepare your child for coping with life itself? What will you teach him about handling conflict, sadness and stress? I think we have all felt the side effects of stress and the feelings that go with it. Whether it be anger, worry, fear, sadness, we have all experienced these feelings. So have our children.
Childhood should not be stressful but in today’s culture, stress in children is becoming more and more frequent. With the pressures of school, sports, and all that the media throws at our children, it’s pretty clear how a child can quickly feel overwhelmed! As parents, we need to be aware of what our children are feeling. We need to be connected and spend enough time with our child in order to see the signs of stress in our kids. If you believe your child could be experiencing stress, consider the following:
What are some sources of stress in children?
Changes and situations in family dynamics, school, friends, an overabundance of activities, not enough down-time or creative outlets, too much TV, social pressures, low self-esteem, separation from parents, or other sources unique to your child.
What are some symptoms of stress in children?
While it may be difficult to recognize symptoms of stress in children, below are some symptoms that may alert you to stress:
Mood swings, sleep pattern changes, acting out, bed wetting, frequent stomach aches and headaches, trouble concentrating, incomplete schoolwork, a change in academic performance, and/or withdrawing or isolating oneself. Some children may start lying, defying authority, or bullying other children while others may suffer from nightmares, clinging to their parents, or overreacting to what are simply small problems. Very young children may begin new habits such as hair twirling, picking their nose, sucking their thumb, or other regressive behaviours.
Stress is one of the greatest threats to all life on earth. We may not be able to change the stressful situations in life but we can change how we cope with them. We can change our thoughts. Thoughts are the most powerful forces in a child’s universe. The thoughts children think each day influence every aspect of their lives. Their attitudes, choices, personality, and who they ultimately become as individuals, are all products of their thinking.
On the Kids who Can course, we empower today’s children to be active participants in creating their own healthy, calm, peaceful lives. Our aim is to provide children with a safe, fun space to learn about themselves, what they like, dislike, how they feel about things, and to learn to manage what life throws at them in a healthy effective way. Each lesson is structured in the same way so that the children enjoy the comfort of knowing what to expect as they become familiar with the class format. Repetition and practice insure that the empowering techniques of affirmations, visualisations and breathing are integrated into their lives.
For more information on Kids Who Can! – please contact me:
Louise Roos, Kids Who Can facilitator, will be running a workshop soon. Please call her on 083 6431007 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and bookings.