The school psychologist Lynn Durham would like to offer this article with tips on dealing with stress in children and adolescents. We are going to split this into a 2 part article.
Stress in Children and Adolescents: Tips for Parents (Part 2)
Click here to read Part 1 of this article
Factors that help prevent stress
Positive problem solving and coping skills.
Close, supportive relationships at home and school, with peers and adults.
Permission and ability to learn from mistakes.
Consistent, positive discipline.
Developing competencies (academic, social, extracurricular, and life skills).
Ability to express feeling appropriately.
Feeling physically and emotionally safe.
Good nutrition and exercise.
Time to relax or do recreational activities.
How Parents Can Help
Build trust with your child
Be available and open to talk when your child is ready. If family circumstances are contributing to the stress, be willing to answer questions honestly and calmly.
Encourage the expression of feelings.
Teach and model good emotional responses.
Encourage your child to tell you if he or she feels overwhelmed.
Encourage healthy and diverse friendships.
Encourage physical activity, good nutrition, and rest.
Teach your child to problem solve.
Keep your child aware of anticipated family changes, in an age-appropriate way. Acknowledge that change can feel uncomfortable but reassure him or her that the family will be okay.
Do not hide the truth from your child. Children sense parents’ worry and the unknown can be scarier than the truth. However, avoid unnecessary discussions in front of your child (particularly a young child) of events or circumstances that might increase his or her stress.
Help your child have a part in decision making when appropriate.
Remind your child of his or her ability to get through tough times, particularly with the love and support of family and friends.
Monitor television programs that could worry your child and pay attention to the use of computer games, movies, and the internet.
Use encouragement and natural consequences when poor decisions are made.
Help your child select appropriate extracurricular activities and limit over scheduling.
Make your child aware of the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol before experimentation begins.
Monitor your own stress level. Take care of yourself.
Contact your child’s teacher with any concerns and make them part of the team available to assist your child.
Seek the assistance of a physician, school psychologist, school counselor, or school social worker if stress continues to be a concern.
Adapted from: “Stress in Children: Strategies for Parents and Educators,” by Ellis P. Copeland, in Helping Children at Home and School II: Handouts for Families and Educators, NASP, 2004. The full handout is available online at http://www.nasponline.org/families