We all know a lot about stress from our experience. Learning about stressful situations and managing them is like reading a book about your own childhood – everything seems familiar, but you don’t know how it really sounds in words.
Experience also shows us that there are two kinds of stress: positive and negative one. We can all imagine a situation before having an exam. Yes, our body is sweating, our arms have uncontrolled shaking movements and we can hear our heart beating loudly.
But, at the same time, we are collecting our strength and mind and being fully concentrated because of positive stress we are about to give our best result.
On the other hand, stress is sometimes as dangerous as the worst enemy. Being afraid of the consequences and being under pressure of achieving the best results can block our abilities, make us forget what we already know and lead to performance which is under our regular level.
The situation with kids and stress is the same as with adults. But, kids are more sensitive, and stressors (situations that cause stress) are all around them. One of the greatest are parents with high expectations (sometimes unrealistically high). Maybe they are disappointed with their lives, maybe they see their children as their successors who must achieve their goals, but it is always dangerous to put your child under such a pressure.
There are a few signs that show if you are a pressure parent. If you find yourself in some of them, your child is probably at risk of being under stress caused by you. Here they are:
• Do you get upset if your children fail to achieve what you think they are capable of and after being disappointed put all your energy into making it right for the next time?
• Are you, as parents, always fighting each other about your child’s failures, finding the other one guilty for them?
• Giving a negative feedback is also one of the things that show you are a pressure parent. Is it true that you are more often giving negative than positive feedback, unconsciously trying to make your child be perfect?
• Do you always have the last word and only on special occasions give your child the right to make the final decision?
• Do you think your children will lose a lot if they are not occupied with lessons every hour of the day and every day in the week? Also, are the lessons they are taking the ones you consider the best for them?
On the other hand, there are some recent studies which show that some of us are genetically programmed to be under pressure. Also, it is shown that people who are successful in their jobs are not immune to stress; they are just capable to use it as motivation and a power source for greater achievements.
Now, what should you do when your child is facing a stressful situation? There are a few techniques you can learn for yourself and then teach your children how to practice them.
When faced with stressful events, you (or your kid) can practice deep breathing in a quiet place, muscle relaxation, positive visualization, mindfulness (focusing on the present moment) and having fun with a lot of laughter. It is not only that parents put their children under stress voluntarily – if you are an anxious person your child will follow your model of behavior so you should always ask yourself if you are a good example to be followed.
What is specific for anxious children is that they practice negative “self talk” in every occasion. For example, if they are going on the road with the bus, they will be afraid of having a car accident and things like that. As parents, what we can do is to show them what “self talk” is and to teach them how to avoid negativity. We shall teach them how to avoid thoughts that lead to anxiety because (we should teach them about this too) our thoughts are connected with our feelings.
Children are sometimes difficult to understand and their fears are often underestimated. But, if you see your child is under pressure, feeling afraid without any particular reason, you can suggest to him to make a list of things he is afraid of. This is how you will find out what bothers him the most and make fears go away, one by one.
Good sleep and proper nutrition with adequate exercise are things we should pay attention to. Sometimes it is good to have a stress ball on the table as a tool which relaxes but doesn’t distract your kid’s attention.
If you want to go further, you should think about colors in your house. It is scientifically proven that some colors are beneficial for our mood. Science of colors shows that cool colors have a calming effect on the body. They are good for a kid’s room because they help in relaxation. Also, the combination of warm colors can lend to an atmosphere of happiness and comfort.
Author Bio: Emily is a mother of two girls. She aims to teach them about life as much as possible. She finds handling stress is crucial, and gives her daughters beautiful stress balls to play with as a first aid kit for battling stress.