Managing yours and Your Child's Stress
Our kids are growing up fast and in a generation with electronics their parents never knew. Recent family statistics mention that on average 53 hours per week of a child's life is spent interacting with some sort of screen media, kids are sleeping less, they're involved in more non-family activities, being treated more as confidantes to their parents rather than their child, and have less time to be still or interact with family.
This doesn't come without consequences, and one of those consequences is increased stress. A second consequence is a need for immediacy and awkwardness with normal communication. Kids also feel more overwhelmed with emotions they don't understand or have the ability to process. The brain changes as we grow and continues to change as it acquires new information. An overload of information or inability to manage the information leads to anxiety, depression, and stress in our children and the evidence is everywhere.
Attention deficit disorders are a real issue, but environmental influences cannot be overlooked. Many parents are as stressed, if not more than their children, and when children don't understand what is going on it is likely they will try to help mom and dad by taking on some of their unspoken worries and concerns.
Parents traveling with their jobs, taking on more work, venting personal information to their children, or signing their child up for one more class or activity at night to help with carpooling may help everyone get home, but it may also be the very activity that pushes a healthy balance to an unhealthy point for their child. Just as parents need "down time," their children do too. The loss of childhood is a serious and complex problem facing many families in America.
How can we protect our children's youth, help them manage necessary stress and minimize unnecessary stress? Below are a few suggestions for parents in managing their own stress as well as helping their children.
You cannot escape stress and some stress is good for us. However, when your child becomes anxious, weepy, and unable to focus it's time to make changes in your family's lifestyle. –Mary Jo Rapini
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