9 Parent Tips to Teach Children to Manage Stress

Traditionally, many school-aged children love school and look forward to start of a new school year. But for other children, it’s also a time of great stress. In fact, stress—those overwhelming feelings of doubt about ourselves or our ability to handle things—is as common in children as adults.

The greatest challenge to parents today is teaching children to manage stress effectively. Children may react to excess stress with behavior that seems immature, inappropriate, or even disturbing. One child exhibits anxiety and tears the night before going back to school. Another child speaks of new teacher and asks her parents questions while trying to imagine the teacher's personality. Another child enjoys shopping for school clothes and looks forward to seeing new friends. 

Stress can be terrifying to children who lack the emotional maturity or experience to understand and deal with it. The challenge for parents, teachers, and other caretakers include how to recognize signs of stress in children of different ages, how to know when stress threatens to overwhelm a child, and what to do about it.

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In Nurture Your Child’s Gift, I offer excellent suggestions to help parents cope with their children’s stress. A stressed-out condition can result from a specific cause or from life in general. Here are some examples:

  • At 17, Jen was a high school senior expecting to graduate with honors in the Spring. Just before Christmas, however, Jen’s father lost his job and the family had to move into the basement of a cousin’s house. Jen soon developed a severe allergy, then asthma. The illness cost her so much time from school that she required home-schooling to make up the difference.
  • Mark was only two when his parents divorced. Confused, Mark wandered the house, calling plaintively for his father, but weekends with Dad made him cry. Most weekends, Mark developed upset stomachs that were so bad he’d miss preschool on Mondays.

Age-Related Stressors

Toddlers need to feel safe and comfortable. Stress for preschool children can arise from a new face at home or at day care, the disappearance of a familiar face, visiting lots of new places at once, or abrupt changes in the family’s structure, relationships or daily routine.
During the grade-school years, children become concerned with pleasing people like teachers, parents, guardians and coaches. School life—even a change in assigned seating or having to take a test—brings higher levels of stress every year. And when it comes to peers, even the threat of diminished acceptance is terrifying. Sleep-overs, birthday parties, sporting events and music competitions can trigger stressful reactions.
Through middle school and beyond, the pressures kids feel from parents, teachers, peers, society at large, and from within increases. Children have to learn adapt to these pressures. Because they have grown in their intelligence, curiosity and knowledge of community, demands for their attention, time, energy and effort can often feel like a tug of war. As in the cases of Mark and Jen, it is not unusual for life-altering events to express themselves in illness. At the University of Missouri, for instance, researcher Mark Flinn found that a child’s risk of upper-respiratory infection increases by 200 percent for the seven days following a high-stress event. And parents like Miranda’s might confuse what they believe are normal behavior with an expression of anxiety. Children often display their tensions in small acts that have aggressive undertones.

How You Can Help

  1. There are many ways parents can help their children deal with stress and stressful situations.
  2. Don’t try to fix everything for the child, and avoid offering advice. Sometimes just listening so that your child feels truly heard may be enough to relieve the stress.
  3. As you listen, ask questions that encourage your child to think a situation through. “What’s the next step?” or “How would you handle that?” are good questions. Ask a lot of “what-if” questions, too.
  4. Help children listen to themselves. Nurture Your Child’s Gift suggests quiet-time techniques for children to listen to nature sounds like rain or waves upon the beach, to their own heartbeat, or to recordings of whales, dolphins or birds.
  5. Encourage children to spend time listening to their thoughts. When they feel free to speak their own thoughts aloud about a situation, things suddenly become clear.
  6. Nurture Your Child’s Gift details a diaphragmatic breathing exercise for kids and parents. Shallow breathing is associated with the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Deeper, effective breathing produces feelings of relaxation and calm.
  7. Use soothing and rhythmic music, even simple drumming, to help your child relieve muscle tension. It works!
  8. Don’t overlook exercise for releasing stress and tension. It works for your child just as it does for you. Have children walk the dog, get on the treadmill or stretch through easy yoga movements for children.  Any movement they enjoy will help ease stress away.
  9. Parents can do much to alleviate stress in their children’s lives. Effectively dealing with your own stress is the first step. Showing your kids how to release their stress comes next.

 

Copyright © Caron B. Goode.

Nine Tips On Understanding Your Teen

Your child becomes a teenager and parenting can suddenly turn into a frustrating experience. You are understanding your child from a different viewpoint in the circle of life. You could observe:

  • That the harmony is gone in your relationship.
  • You find yourself in disagreement with your child.
  • You feel the so-called generation gap grew.

Yes, your child is changing, but the basic temperament is still there. Understanding your teen is still the key to having a harmonious relationship. These ten tips for understanding your teen and dealing with the new brain wiring will help you stay centered as a heartwise® parent.

While you used to pal around with your child when he or she was younger, you now have to set boundaries between your role as a parent or a friend.

1.Help stabilize the changes.

At this stage, you are primarily the circumspect parent who will listen, negotiate boundaries and behaviors, and stand steadfast in your expectations. Doing so helps stabilize all the changes the adolescent experiences. Friends can be found, but good parenting is a rare commodity these days.

2. Become Involved

Understanding your child as a teen means becoming involved while your schedule and life remain just as busy. Being involved is finding the time to be with them. Being involved means knowing where they are at all times and establishing communication protocols.

Even more important are the conversations about life your teen appreciates. These conversations open opportunities to understanding your child, as their thoughts and feelings change each day, disappear, and flare again: Listen to the what your child tells you about their life events. You will glean their thoughts and feelings so that they will be at ease coming to you if they are in trouble.

3. Train Teens in Accountability Skills

Understanding your teen

You as the parent, are responsible for preparing your child for adult life for as long as they live under your roof.
If they want something, exert the effort to achieve it or get it.
Being responsible for communication, earned expenses, and tasks is now their domain.
Money is not the important asset. Rather, qualities about handling money are what matters.
As a parent, you can help here by providing their allowance for completed jobs, but they must do their part. You are training them to survive in a competitive world.

4. Listen To Them

The teen years are crucial years for understanding your child. Teens expect you to hear them and decipher what they need or want. You may feel like judgments arise surrounding teen activities, finances, and studies. Don't worry because 99% of the job is listening to them and understanding what they want.

5. Explain Your Viewpoint

By letting teens know the reasons for any decisions you make, you empower them to make their choices. Offering them a reason, even if it considered lame by your teen, helps them review their personal choices. For example
Concern for their safety is why you establish a mutually agreed on curfew.
Your need to know where they are if they leave one place for a new destination requires a phone call to know they are safe and capable of holding their own among peers.

6. Tune In

Understanding your child occurs when you are
listening to their kind of music
keeping tabs on what activities they are involved in
Knowing the names of their friends

7. Be Flexible

Setting agreed-upon rules with your teen is always healthy. However, exceptions to rules always occur. Whether you are flexible enough to bend the rules requires discussion with your teen. Lay the groundwork for those instances when rules can be adjusted.

8. Share Your Interest With Your Child

Sharing interests with your child means you better understand them You learn together and share your experiences. You need to stay connected with your child through those teen arguments.

9. Keep Talking Even If Your Teen Is Not Listening

Teenagers do listen to their parents. While they may argue with you, your advice is well-entrenched in their minds. After all, you did raise them. Although they pretend passivity with what you say, the truth is that your advice has influence.

Nine Tips On Understanding Your Teen

Your child becomes a teenager and parenting can suddenly turn into a frustrating experience. You are understanding your child from a different viewpoint in the circle of life. You could observe:

  • That the harmony is gone in your relationship.
  • You find yourself in disagreement with your child.
  • You feel the so-called generation gap grew.

Yes, your child is changing, but the basic temperament is still there. Understanding your teen is still the key to having a harmonious relationship. These ten tips for understanding your teen and dealing with the new brain wiring will help you stay centered as a heartwise® parent.

While you used to pal around with your child when he or she was younger, you now have to set boundaries between your role as a parent or a friend.

1.Help stabilize the changes. 

At this stage, you are primarily the circumspect parent who will listen, negotiate boundaries and behaviors, and stand steadfast in your expectations. Doing so helps stabilize all the changes the adolescent experiences. Friends can be found, but good parenting is a rare commodity these days.

2. Become Involved

Understanding your child as a teen means becoming involved while your schedule and life remain just as busy. Being involved is finding the time to be with them. Being involved means knowing where they are at all times and establishing communication protocols.

Even more important are the conversations about life your teen appreciates. These conversations open opportunities to understanding your child, as their thoughts and feelings change each day, disappear, and flare again: Listen to the what your child tells you about their life events. You will glean their thoughts and feelings so that they will be at ease coming to you if they are in trouble.

3. Train Teens in Accountability SkillsUnderstanding your teen

You as the parent, are responsible for preparing your child for adult life for as long as they live under your roof.
If they want something, exert the effort to achieve it or get it.
Being responsible for communication, earned expenses, and tasks is now their domain.
Money is not the important asset. Rather, qualities about handling money are what matters.
As a parent, you can help here by providing their allowance for completed jobs, but they must do their part. You are training them to survive in a competitive world.

4. Listen To Them

The teen years are crucial years for understanding your child. Teens expect you to hear them and decipher what they need or want. You may feel like judgments arise surrounding teen activities, finances, and studies. Don't worry because 99% of the job is listening to them and understanding what they want.

5. Explain Your Viewpoint

By letting teens know the reasons for any decisions you make, you empower them to make their choices. Offering them a reason, even if it considered lame by your teen, helps them review their personal choices. For example
Concern for their safety is why you establish a mutually agreed on curfew.
Your need to know where they are if they leave one place for a new destination requires a phone call to know they are safe and capable of holding their own among peers.

6. Tune In

Understanding your child occurs when you are
listening to their kind of music
keeping tabs on what activities they are involved in
Knowing the names of their friends

7. Be Flexible

Setting agreed-upon rules with your teen is always healthy. However, exceptions to rules always occur. Whether you are flexible enough to bend the rules requires discussion with your teen. Lay the groundwork for those instances when rules can be adjusted.

8. Share Your Interest With Your Child

Sharing interests with your child means you better understand them You learn together and share your experiences. You need to stay connected with your child through those teen arguments.

9. Keep Talking Even If Your Teen Is Not Listening

Teenagers do listen to their parents. While they may argue with you, your advice is well-entrenched in their minds. After all, you did raise them. Although they pretend passivity with what you say, the truth is that your advice has influence.

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