The causes of stress in children can vary, ranging from new routines that they must face when they start school, bullying, demands academic values, to family problems at home. Stress in children certainly should not be left alone because this can have a negative impact on their mental health.
Symptoms of stress in children are not easy to recognize. Some children who are stressed may not show specific symptoms or complaints. However, there are some signs that should be suspected as symptoms of stress in children.
Some of these signs include sudden difficulty sleeping, lack of appetite, fluctuating emotions, difficulty concentrating while studying, or difficulty doing schoolwork.
In addition, children who are under stress may also experience certain physical symptoms, such as abdominal pain or headaches, frequent bedwetting, constipation, or often feeling unwell.
Causes of Stress in Children
Here are some of the most common causes of stress in children:
1. Too busy activity
Children’s activities at school can suck up most of their energy. Even though they are tired, some children are still asked to take additional lessons through tutoring or courses after school hours are over.
Your intentions as a parent may be good, but this busy schedule can make your little one not have time to relax or play. This can make him tired and stressed.
Therefore, you still need to give him the opportunity to relax and rest. If necessary, reduce the schedule of activities that must be done after school.
You can also ask your child directly if he feels burdened by the additional learning activities that you schedule. If he’s feeling stressed, try to be a good listener and let him vent.
2. Exposure to adult content
As technology advances, various information can be obtained easily. Children may be exposed to content or information for adults, such as scary news, violent videos, or even pornography.
Exposure to adult content can put your child at risk of stress. Therefore, parents are encouraged to be more selective in sorting out the information and entertainment content obtained by their children.
In addition, try to always accompany and provide understanding to children about the content they watch.
3. Lack of sleep
Children need adequate rest, especially after a long day at school. Therefore, you have to make sure your little one gets enough rest and doesn’t let him sleep-deprived.
This is important to note because lack of sleep can have a negative impact on a child’s mood, behaviour, judgment ability, and memory. When it’s time to rest, keep your little one away from gadgets or television. The recommended sleep time for school-age children is 10-11 hours per night.
Intimidation or bullying that afflicts children, whether physically, verbally, or emotionally, also carries a risk of making them feel depressed.
If you see signs of bullying in your child, such as refusing to go to school for no apparent reason, declining performance at school, not having friends, or frequent injuries or injuries when coming home from school, try to invite him to have a heart-to-heart talk.
If he does get bullying by his friends, give him support, so he can be more confident in living his days at school or in his environment.
Also talk about this with the school, so that the bully gets action or a reprimand, so this doesn’t continue to stress your child.
5. Certain diseases
Similarly, when they see or know that their parents are suffering from a serious illness, children can also experience stress when they find out that they have an illness. Some examples of diseases that may stress children include diabetes, obesity, asthma, and cancer or leukaemia.
If your little one has the disease, he may feel alienated from his association or school activities because he has to undergo treatment. Provide moral support to your child, so he can get through these difficult times.
6. Divorce of parents
In order to grow and develop properly, children need to get care and love from their families. When parents divorce, the child will face major changes in his life.
If your divorce from your partner is unavoidable, explain carefully in easy-to-understand language about the divorce.
Also give understanding to your little one that by separating, his father and mother will be happier. Your love for him will also not change, and he will continue to receive support and affection from time to time.
In the face of divorce, you are advised not to put your child in a position where he has to choose one of his parents. This will only make him feel confused, depressed, and even more, stressed.
In addition to the various causes above, certain personality types or traits, such as perfectionism, can also make children more easily stressed.
How to Prevent Stress in Children
So that children do not experience stress, there are several preventative steps that parents can take. These steps include:
Spend time with kids
No matter how busy you are, take time to chat with your little one. Make this a space to ask about the activities that he does every day, including how he feels. This will make your little one feel cared for.
Reduce children’s activities
If there are activities that make your little one stressed, try discussing them with him. This is important to do to find out what activities need to be reduced. The reason is, children also need time to relax or do things they like.
Create a comfortable home atmosphere
So that your little one feels comfortable at home, avoid disputes in front of him. Control your emotions and talk about the problems that occur between you and your partner while the child is asleep. This is not easy, but you still have to work on it, yes.
Listen to every child’s story
Listen every time your little one wants to say something. In this way, you can help relieve the burden of stress that is being faced by him.
Accompany children as much as possible
When your little one is feeling stressed and sad, try to accompany him and provide support. This can make him re-energized, feel calmer, and able to deal with his problems better.
Stress in children is important to be recognized and overcome. If left unchecked, stress can build up and put children at risk for certain psychological problems, ranging from anxiety disorders, depression, to self-harm or even suicide.
If your little one experiences various things that make him stressed or the stress he experiences is quite heavy, making it difficult for him to study or carry out activities, try to take him to consult a psychologist. Through counselling, it is hoped that the stress experienced by the child can be overcome.