Effects of Stress on Kids

mom is a bit stressed out“The kids are driving me crazy and no one is helping!” This or something similar has crossed many a mom’s lips. When things get to be too much, often the ones in the parents direct path take the brunt of the frustration. The way a mom or dad deals with their stress can have a huge affect on their kids. Remember, kids learn from us, and I know when I get upset it can be hard to control my feelings, but it is important to ask ourselves, if we lash out, or get upset, what is that teaching our kids, and how will that affect the way our kids will deal with stressful situations.

Stress can be both good and bad. When we respond favorably in stressful situations, we learn to cope with the event and go on. A positive attitude keeps us looking for the bright side of the situation. No matter how long it lasts, it won’t last forever.

Distress is when stressful situations turn bad. Instead of directing our frustration in the direction of the problem or seeking someone to listen, we make our kids the target. Moms and dads may not set out to do this, but high stress has a way of making us act in a manner that is not the way we normally act. This in no way means that the parent does't love their children, but remember, the child may not understand this.

Many kids tend to be visual little people. They learn by watching us. If our attitude is negative they will pick up on it.

Kids sense changes in the climate of their home. This includes a change in a mother’s temperament. When mom gets angry, kids know it. If children are used to seeing their mom smiling and laughing, hearing her get angry or shouting can frighten them. They may run and hide.

Whenever mom is like that, kids will turn away. They may learn to shut down themselves if they think that something they say or do will cause mom to get this way. When stress causes a mom to lash out at her kids, they may believe that they are the cause of the anger.

Stress can lead to impatience. Moms, and Dads can easily become impatient with their kids without even realizing it. If mom or dad is going to be late for work, she or he may rush a child to finish their breakfast. Slow eating can lead to the parent getting upset or the bowl being left on the table with food still in it. Kids learn to be impatient with others and the parent may notice this when they see their child playing with its siblings. The child will rush others or snatch toys away even if it makes the other children cry.

Parents who are stressed can stress out their children. But if they manage stress in positive ways, they will teach valuable lessons to their children. No matter what situation arises, the way that a mom acts towards her children is important. Children will always scream, holler and cry even when things are going well. Separating the stressful event from the behavior of the children gives them security that mom’s love and care doesn’t change at these times.
Stress affects kids. When a parent is stressed and it shows in her behavior towards the kids, they learn to become guarded. Stress management is important to maintain a healthy relationship between mother and children. The best advice, when you feel a stressed out, give your child a hug, it may not only help you, but teach your child how to deal positively with stress and give your child a lesson that will last a lifetime.

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March 15, 2008

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