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Stress Symptoms in Children

Rajib Singha
For children, everything may not be peachy as we adults think it to be. There are times, when even they experience stress and its repercussions. This write-up helps you understand about stress in children.
Most adults may remain unconvinced when they hear about children undergoing any kind of stress. After all, they are the ones who enjoy life to the fullest; eat, play, sleep and always have their dear parents looking after them. However, it's not always the same with the young minds.
Though tender, they have their own perception, feelings and mindset which are subjected to get afflicted in a negative manner, and get manifested in the form of worries and stress.
Stress symptoms in children could be a mere manifestation of any critical phase their family members might be going through. These symptoms could be psychological or physical.

Physical Symptoms

Here are the physical symptoms that may indicate stress in children:
  • Skin diseases
  • Worsening asthma
  • Sleep disorders
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Picking on skin

Psychological Symptoms

● Behavioral changes such as being aggressive and more irritable than normal, getting frustrated easily, bed-wetting, etc., could be commonly caused by stress in children.

● Isolation tendencies, confuse feelings and guilt, and lying without reason may also occur.
● Younger kids tend to develop habits such as nose picking, playing with hair or sucking their thumbs.

● Older kids may exhibit symptoms such as disobeying instructions coming from parents or teachers, or bullying other kids.
● Some children who are subjected to extreme stress may develop a behavioral disorder known as a post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD). Some common symptoms of this disorder in children include:
  • Heightened fear or anxiety
  • High sensitivity to loud or sudden noises
  • Loss of interest in their usual play or friends
● Parents may also notice their children overeating or skipping meals, getting withdrawn from indulging in sports or family activities, and performing poorly in their academic careers.
● Anxiety, depression, bearing a negative approach or perception, low self-confidence, and falling for drugs and alcohol abuse are some symptoms which are commonly visible in teens who undergo a stressful phase in their lives.

Responsible Factors

● In preschoolers, separation from parents may become a prime source of stress.
● Divorce, frequent fights between parents or stress and anxieties in the family could be responsible for inducing stress in children.

● Also, moving to a new place, passing away of a dear person, intensive extracurricular activities, academic pressure or peer pressure could manifest into all such symptoms of stress.
● Other causes could be the arrival of a newborn baby in the family, being too conscious about his/her looks (more common in teens), not getting enough support from a teacher, and compromising his/her privacy with others.

What Can be Done?

Plenty of rest, and nutritious diet are the two most efficient methods to cope with stress. However, involvement and responsible parenting have no substitute, when it comes to helping children cope with their stress and its unpleasant symptoms. Do not allow lack of communication to build between you and your children.
It's important to spend some quality time with your kids and helping them pour out their heart to you. Many times, stress in kids are lessened just by talking to their parents. Having a talk with your kids will help you root out the cause of their stress, and together you can come up with a solution.
It's also important to notice when your kids start showing abnormal symptoms, such as behaving aggressively or become ill-mannered. It would not be wise for you to react in the same way. It's difficult to calm down a child who is being too aggressive.
However, understand that, they are not doing it on purpose and there must be some reason to it. So, being calm and assertive will help you pin-point the causes and most importantly, help your child to fight his/her cause of stress.
It's not always possible for every parent to spend a good deal of time with their kids after having been through a busy day. However, showing a bit of interest in the kids' days work will help them to realize that even the things they do are equally important.
In most cases, parents are skilled enough to help their kids cope with stress. However, if they notice that their kids' behavior is changing drastically and is persistent, then they must consider seeking professional attention.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.