Guest Post

Identifying Signs Of Stress In Your Kids!

Identifying signs of stress in your kids



In case you’ve wondered – adults aren’t the only group of people experiencing stress. Contrary to the popular belief, stress is very common among children too, especially younger teenagers. Unfortunately, most stress signs our children express are often mistaken for rebellious and reckless behavior, when they’re actually a cry for help.

To ensure your child stays emotionally and psychologically stable, tuning into their emotional or behavioral cues is crucial. Once identified, potential problems will be easier to address and solve, and therefore, help you approach your child in a healthy way, offer guidance and support to successfully work through difficult times.

In this article, we’ll tackle upon ways to recognize possible signs of stress and offer potential solutions on how to fix them.

Observe their behavior

Younger children don’t actually have the ability to recognize and verbalize all emotions they’re feeling, stress in particular. This is why they’ll act out and adopt some negative behaviors that may turn into problematic outbursts.

Common changes can include acting moody or irritable, routinely expressing worries, withdrawing from activities that used to give them pleasure, complaining more than usual about school, displaying surprising fearful reactions, clinging to a parent or teacher, sleeping and/or eating disorders and crying for no apparent reason.

While negative behaviors aren’t necessarily indicators of excessive stress, negative changes in behavior are definite signals that something is wrong.


Watch for their interaction with others

Sometimes, a child won’t express any changes in behavior while at home but they’ll be acting out in communication with other children. To be aware of these changes, parents should network and exchange experiences and observations about their children’s behaviors. This includes being in contact with teachers, school administrators and leaders of extracurricular activities.

Understand that “feeling sick” may be caused by stress

Just as in adults, stress may manifest through physical symptoms with kids, too. Often, they’ll experience splitting headaches or stomach aches as a manifestation of stress they are feeling, so watch for signs. If a child is complaining about these symptoms prior to some big event (e.g. a school performance, test, big game, etc.), that child may be experiencing significant stress.

Listen and translate

Children aren’t familiar with most words adults use to define their emotions, so even when they’re looking to communicate that they’ve been under a lot of stress, they are likely to use words close to their vocabulary − “angry”, “annoyed”, “worried”, “confused”, “scared”, etc. Teenagers will be prone to either putting themselves down or talking negative things about world around them (e.g. “No one likes me,” “I’m stupid,” “Nothing is fun.”).


Ways parents can help

Empowering your kids to cope effectively with stress means being very understanding of the vulnerable state they are in.

Be honest and open

If you’ve noticed the change in their behavior, talk to them calmly and patiently. Don’t attack them or punish them for acting out. Be their friend first, and make them realize you’re not the enemy. Ask them what’s been bothering them, and then work with them on finding a solution. Offer support and ultimately – a way out.

Be emotionally supportive

Some kids are more sensitive than the others, and you need to work with your child’s sensibility. When they come to you with a crisis, find the time in your busy schedule to listen to their problem. Express genuine empathy for their emotional dilemmas and talk to them by drawing on your own experience. Realizing they are not alone, they may find it easier to solve the problem.


Help them sleep better

If stress is messing with their sleep, children may have requirements like leaving the lights on, sleeping with the door open, having you read to them prior to bedtime (or the opposite), etc. Go with their wishes until they overcome the problem. Also, have them either sleep with open windows or put a humidifier on their nightstand as the fresh air helps one fall asleep quicker and rest well.

Include stress-relief activities in their daily routine

Sign your kid up for a sport they love and watch them de-stress quicker than you’ve thought possible. Especially at an early age, sport is known to build character, stability and focus as well as keep children mentally healthy.

***This is a Guest post from Zara Lewis***

37 thoughts on “Identifying Signs Of Stress In Your Kids!

  1. It is so sad to think that our kids are being affected by the choices we have made as to how to live. A key sentence that really stood out for me was, make time in your busy schedule to listen to their problems. As someone who is always in a rush, this hit home.

  2. These are some great strategies. I think stress is extremely common so it’s good to know what to look for and how to deal with it.

  3. Stress is something that we, as humans, cannot escape. It’s tougher when the kids feel it because unlike us, they’re not sure how to relieve stress. I think it’s important to communicate with them, in a calm manner and be as supportive as you can be. Put yourself in their shoes so you can understand them better.

  4. I don’t think kids can determine if they’re stressed or not, but their actions will definitely tell you. It’s better to understand than to fight fire with fire. They would rather have someone who listens after all.

  5. These are great tips – we often overlook the fact that children suffer from stress as well and it’s good to know how to recognize the symptoms.

  6. like Elizabeth just pointed out, we all cant escape it, old or young, but the most important thing is communication to find its origin and get the sorted out and keep them free off it.

  7. This is a great post and very important topic. Children are so delicate and can’t express this kind of feeling like stress. it’s our job to find out how the kids are feeling. Absolutely great points, thanks! x

  8. I think this is SO important! People always tell kids they can’t be stressed, they’re too young. But it’s so easy for them to be stressed and hide it all. Just simply keeping an eye on certain things can help a lot.

  9. Providing that unconditional support seems to be super important. Children need and want a place where they can just talk out their feelings. Parents are obviously perfect for that.


  10. It’s sad to know that some kids are experiencing such thing at early age but what they really need the most is the comfort from their parents to let them know that everything will be okay and there is nothing to worry… a simple warm hug could make a huge difference i guess

  11. These are some great tips for parents. I do agree that children might feel stressed at times and the parents are the best to help them get out of it.

  12. This is such an important post. Many times, people will disregard children’s actions. As you stated, however, their actions speak louder than words. We all need to slow down to listen and look for what the children around us are trying to say.

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