I love to constantly sit back and think about my life and that I am giving to my daughter. Most of the times I find myself stressed, worried and tensed about some or the other thing in life. And this stress has been my constant excuse to not do things that I should have done for my little girl. I started feeling all the more depressed and stressed for not being a good mum and thought that its okay she is just a child a may not feel all that bad about her mum. However, I always had this nagging thought on my mind does children not have any stress? Do they not feel tensed to their guts? Do they even worry about anything? After a lot of research and web browsing, I came to know that stress has horrific effects on children which can leave a permanent mark on their minds and lives.
Stress is the most discussed word of this modern era. It has been estimated that most parts of the population in the world undergo a certain amount of stress every day. It, in general, is defined as a state of mental or emotional tension that is a resultant of surroundings or circumstances. It has proven disadvantages towards health as it gives rise to a lot of body problems. A few to name are high blood pressure, excessive weight gain, nervous problems and hormonal imbalance. Every child experiences some stress growing up – and even some upsetting events. That’s normal. And learning to cope in those situations is actually necessary for the brain and the body because it helps a child navigate a complex world and bounce back when trouble arises. However, this monster called stress can actually change the way your child thinks and perceives life and relationships.
Basically, children might experience effects of stress either directly or indirectly. Direct stress can be understood as the stress that results due to a situation specific to the child. E.g. Leaving your child alone for longer times. Indirect stress can be understood as the stress that results from a situation that is around the child. E.g. differences between parents or parents who undergo stress themselves.
All children will undergo stress, at times may be of a significant amount or less. Thanks to the fast-paced life, often parents fail to identify the same. The ignorance of stress in children will lead to a lot of harmful effects.
Circumstances that cause stress in children
A few examples of the above are:
1)Disrupted homes and disrupted family will definitely put a child under stress as there will be no one to care for him.
2)Feeling pressurised to behave or perform beyond their capability can make a child depressed.
3)Failing an exam at school also might cause stress. This will cause a direct hit to the self-confidence of the child.
4)Peer pressure at times will be difficult to handle by the child alone. This will cause a severe stress in the child.
5)Though rarely, physical appearance also might be a potential stress causing reason among children.
Harmful effects of stress in children
Positive stress is a normal part of learning and development. As children learn to cope with frustration, overcome obstacles and confront challenges, they will experience a certain amount of stress. This level of stress is usually safe and manageable, especially if a child has the support of a healthy home environment. Some amount of stress is often beneficial for the body as it will help the body release stress hormones. These hormones will help the body tackle any emergency situation and give the body strength to fight the ill. But, a prolonged exposure to the same condition that caused the stress might have a negative impact on children. A few of the negative impacts are:
1)Behavioural Issues: Overall behaviour of the child gets affected. Social behaviour will be majorly affected.
2)Effects learning, memory and performance: Stress can directly impede the above and leave the child devastated. As a child, performing and learning is an important aspect. Stress impacts performance and children loose on their memory power.
3)Eating habits: Appetite and overall eating will be majorly affected by stress. The child under stress will not have any interest in nutrition. Thus, affecting the overall growth and development.
4)Sleeplessness: Sleep will be disrupted in a child under stress. This again will give rise to other associated problems.
5)Health issues: Involving heart can rise in children having stress. Chances of heart attack increases and the child might suffer high blood pressure as well.
There are indeed a lot of hidden ill effects of stress in children. A deep dive will evolve a number of instances that has made a stressed child become anti-social and dangerous. Find ways to identify and tackle the stress in your child. Your child will need your immense support as a parent to deal with the same.
I would not say that I had no idea about stress and its effects on children but after being a mother and now with my daughter who recently turned 4 I decided to bring the much-needed changes in my life and the life that I have built for her at home.I have taken an oath that she doesn’t have to be party to whatever I am going through in my day-to-day life. She deserves to be a happy go lucky girl who has her mother by her side in everything she wants to do in life.
A Less stressed child will build a better future for us. Let’s all aim towards building better generations and future ahead.