As with most adults, any major change in a child's life can be a cause of stress. Yet, the child has little or no resources to handle the stress they are experiencing. Events like the birth of a sibling or the parent's divorcing can cause tremendous stress. Stress can also be caused by a move to a new home, a death of a relative or a pet, or illness. Violence, experienced on a first-hand basis, or a natural disaster is extremely stressful. Sometimes, just hearing about such events or watching them on TV can also produce stress and anxiety.

The same is true when children live with very strict parents who impose severe and frequent punishments. Some children experience great stress when parents go on a vacation or are hospitalized due to illness, and they are separated from the parents for more than a few days.

Pressuring a child to succeed can also impose great stress on the child. Parents need to be more aware not to create stress for children unconsciously by comparing them to other kids, or siblings, or by pushing them to make high grades, attend a top college, or be a star athlete.

Stress can also contribute to lowering a child's attention, tolerance, and their ability to think and learn. Resistance to separation from a parent is often a result. Medical and nutritional causes must be ruled out before the child can be accurately diagnosed as reacting to accumulated stress. Because a young child cannot always clearly articulate what they are experiencing, we must rely and become very sensitive to their actions and behaviors.

Signs of Stress

  • Agitation
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Being quiet and withdrawn
  • Lack of appetite
  • Overeating
  • Sleep problems
  • Academic problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Nightmares
  • Bedwetting
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Relapses in toilet habits
  • Frequent illness

There is no way to prevent your child from experiencing stress. It is a natural happening and in some cases can even have positive side effects. Even in the most loving environment a child will experience anger, frustration, and conflicts. A child cannot possibly understand the adult world, and so that leads to confusion, misconceptions, and disappointments. All of which lead to stress.

Children are very vulnerable and impressionable. They function mostly in an inductive mode of thinking where they absorb information, thinking patterns, behaviors, beliefs, programs and problem-solving abilities without questioning them. Information children experience as they grow has the potential of being impressed deeply in their brain and mind, and will determine much of how the rest of their lives will flow.

Children are remarkable in that they can often overcome stress through play, fantasizing, laughter, crying, and a loving supportive environment where they are unconditionally accepted. Parents can teach their children new resources to best handle stressful situations; resources that can be reinforced positively through time, and that the parents also abide by are learned quickly by children. Children love to model their parents above all others.

What Parents Can Do

  • Figure out the cause of the stress and discuss possible ways of handling it.
  • Prepare your child for upcoming stressful events and possible ways of handling it.
  • Teach your child new resources to handle stressful events.
  • Teach your child resourceful thinking patterns.
  • Help your child understand the concept of cause and effect.
  • Teach your child to take responsibility for their own created outcomes and discuss how to avoid them in the future.
  • Teach your child to focus on solutions rather than on problems.
  • Teach your child how to set goals and help them to manifest them.
  • Reinforce your child's positive behaviors, beliefs, and thoughts.
  • Encourage fantasy play and role playing as a way to learn how to handle stressful people, events, and/or situations.
  • Accept what your child is going through and his feelings.
  • Teach your child how to handle stress through paced breathing, imagery, and relaxation.
  • Be patient.
  • Love them unconditionally.
  • Be a healthy and positive model for your child.

With your help, your child can learn to transform stress into motivation; and the best kind of motivation is the one that comes from within. Parents can learn to create an environment where their child can grow and thrive in a more resourceful and less stressful manner. Allow for your child's own internal motivation to guide them so that they can learn to avoid "distress" and instead live with and manage their stress effectively through time.

Copyright © 2002-2004 MindBiz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Laura Silva Quesada is the daughter of Jose Silva, founder of the original Silva Mind Control. She has authored the book For Parents Only and guides people through the mental exercises in the tape series on the Silva Method. She also is the star of The Silva Method in Action video and more recently one of the authors of the Universal Mind Power audio tape program. Today, Laura is responsible for the MindBiz, LLC Product Development and Communications. She is involved in continuing research that unites the best and most useful of the concepts behind our original Mind Development programs with the latest findings from studies on the Human Mind, Intuition, Alternative Health Care, NLP, and Spirituality. She acts as the communications point for our Client and Affiliate network and is aggressively developing new and exciting programs for our Internet site and Product Store.

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