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Web Connections: Kids and Stress, They Need Our Help Now More Than Ever

According to the American Psychology Association’s 2010 Stress in America Report …47% of tweens say they are sad when their parents are stressed.” (1) Stress is having a huge impact on American families, to the level that, “Psychologists caution that stress may become a public health crisis.” (1)

How is Parent’s Stress Affecting Our Kids?

“One-third (32 percent) of parents report that their stress levels are extreme (a level of 8 – 10 on a 10-point scale) and parents overall say they are living with stress levels that exceed their definition of healthy. Children as young as eight years old are reporting that they experience physical and emotional health consequences often associated with stress.” (1)

Parental Involvement is Critical in Stress Reduction

Not only are our kids experiencing stress as a result of their parent’s stress, they are experiencing their own unique stressors and talking to parents less about it.

According to psychologist Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, APA’s executive director for professional practice, “It’s critical that parents communicate with their children about how to identify stress triggers and manage stress in healthy ways while they’re young and still developing behavioral patterns. If children don’t learn these lessons early on, it could significantly impact their physical health and emotional well-being down the road, especially as they become adults.” (1)

Here’s the scary part, “Only half of the children surveyed for the 2010 Stress in America Report have talked to their parents about things they are worried or stressed about in the past month. In other words, our kids are open to talking to us, but it’s not happening very often.” (1)

Helping Our Kids Cope

Here are 6 ways you can help your child deal with stress:

1. Share your own experiences with stress when you were their age. Relating to them is a great way to connect with them.

2. Consider raising questions about the possible stressors in their lives. Homework? Friends? Teachers? Soccer? etc.

3. Give them a stressful scenario and have them contemplate future consequences. This will help them with the fear of the unknown or envisioning the worst case scenarios which can be a common source of stress for some kids. Helping them understand logical consequences will give them a sense of control and help them make wise choices in stressful situations in the future.

4. How does that make you feel? Ask this question often regardless if the situation was stressful or exciting. This will help them put words to their feelings.

5. Explain to your child that you notice they are more withdrawn, anxious or distracted and ask them if they are OK or if they’d like to talk to you about something. Just taking the time to be available for them may be enough to open the communication lines.

6. Can the stressor be removed? Do they have too many activities going on and need to scale back on one? Is it a friend or group of friends? Help your child identify another friend(s) to associate with. Grades suffering? Remove distractions during homework time

7. Get help for your own stressors. Find a friend or church group or possibly talk to a professional if you feel stress in your own life is getting to be too much or a burden. You owe it to not only yourself, but to your kids to get the help you deserve.

Kidtelligent knows our kids are facing more challenges than ever before. We want to help them succeed in all areas of life, including at home, with others, at school and with sports. Learn more about Kidtelligent and the Leadership team here: Kidtelligent .

(1) American Psychological Association, “2010 Stress in America Report”,