In these hectic times, when almost everyone complains of stress, it is no wonder that children are also affected. Studies such as that of Bielefeld University from 2018, assumes that almost a fifth of school children suffer from high stress. The Forsa study came to the conclusion that the age group of 13 to 18-years-old is increasingly affected by stress and depression.
What Causes Stress in Children?
There are several reasons why children feel stressed:
1. Pressure To Perform:
They don’t want to fail at school and don’t want to disappoint their parents. Holger Ziegler, who was responsible for the Bielefeld study, came to the conclusion: “Overall, the most significant factor for child stress is the success-oriented parenting practice.”
2. Deadline Pressure:
Little time for boredom, as leisure time is also full of obligations, be it a sports club or music lessons. According to Forsa, a third of those questioned have at least three extra-curricular activities a week.
3. Quarrel With Friends:
If children crash into each other or are even bullied by the clique, this leads to an increased level of stress.
4. Social Media:
Digital sensory overload does not necessarily lead to relaxation, especially when children are anxiously waiting for a like for their photo on social media or they believe that they cannot keep up.
5. Family Problems:
Of course, the children cannot be ignored if the parents or siblings are not doing well. Financial bottlenecks, disputes, diseases spread stress.
What Are The Signs Of Stress in Children?
“Stress is a biological reaction to escape from the body,” explains Prof. Michael Schulte-Markwort. And that’s how the body reacts – these are the signs:
- stomach pain
- a headache
- Decreased appetite
The irritability mostly results from the lack of sleep. The smaller the children, the more likely they are to react physically to stress, resulting in abdominal pain and headache. Adolescents are more prone to anxiety and depression.
What Can You Do As Parents?
As banal as it sounds, parents first have to recognize that their children are suffering from stress. You are probably under power yourself and want to meet all requirements, the child should have all possibilities of development, the best education, the best support. But all of this can also turn into stress.
1- Simplify Your Everyday Life
The best thing to do is look at your everyday life to what extent it is characterized by pressure when it comes to time, performance and expectations.
This also leads to the paradoxical situation that you then try everything to make the child more relaxed. Then what stresses you. Take a deep breath and see where you can start so that everyone is better. Talk to your kids. What about extracurricular activities, for example? Sports club, orchestra, is this fun for the children at all? Or are they things you chose because you thought it would develop your daughter or son? Are three appointments a week too many? Asks for.
2- Talk To Your Kids
Talking, talking, talking is a good mantra. Stay in dialogue with your offspring. If your child is afraid of failure at school, try to find solutions and also reduce the pressure on expectations. Many children are afraid to disappoint their parents if the grades are wrong. Help them when they have quarreled with their friends. Take your children seriously if they feel they are being bullied. Also, meals together are important to exchange ideas and learn about each other’s everyday life.
3- Relaxation Time
Relaxation exercises bring the calmness needed to defuse stress. In principle, mindfulness is the magic word – keep an eye on your offspring, but also yourself. If you sink into stress and fail to withstand the stress, how should your children do it? Try to maintain a work-life balance as best as possible. It’s hard times, no question, but if we can take the pressure off of life a bit, the world will look better.