• Irritability and anger causing temper outbursts or withdrawing from family and friends are some signs that your child might be going through stress
• Children and adolescents don’t always have the emotional intelligence or vocabulary to express themselves fully
Just like adults, many children are struggling with stress.
Tensions at home such as domestic abuse or violence in schools have been identified as some of the possible triggers of stress among children.
Changes in their bodies like the beginning of puberty, chronic illness, the death of a loved one or separation of parents have been identified as other possible triggers.
Unicef advises that a parent can help their child through stressful times by looking out for signs of excess stress and supporting them in learning how to manage it.
“As children grow older, their sources of stress can increase as they experience bigger life changes, such as new groups of friends, more schoolwork and increased access to social media,” Unicef says.
“Children and adolescents don’t always have the emotional intelligence or vocabulary to express themselves fully."
According to Unicef, irritability and anger causing temper outbursts or withdrawing from family and friends are some signs that your child might be going through stress.
They may also exhibit headaches, dizziness and difficulty sleeping, falling sick more often, weight gain or loss, continuously feeling sad, lower efficiency at tasks, or difficulty concentrating are other signs.
Unicef advises that parents should support their children’s healthy habits by limiting screen use at night and avoiding keeping digital devices in the bedroom.
“Encourage your child to go outside, play and spend time with friends. Exercise and activities such as meditation and deep breathing are helpful in relieving stress,” Unicef advises.
The World Health Organisation notes that children may respond to stress in different ways such as being more clingy, anxious, withdrawing, angry or agitated, and bedwetting hence the need to respond to their reactions in a supportive way, listen to their concerns and give them extra love and attention.
It is also advisable that you become a role model by talking to your child about ways you have dealt with stressful situations.
By sharing your own experiences, you can inspire your child to find stress-managing habits that work for them.
Most importantly, you should respond to your child’s stressful situation by giving them extra love, time and attention, listening to them, speaking kindly and reassuring them that all will be well.
If the child is finding it difficult to cope, it is advised that you consider meeting with a trained expert who should be able to advise on available treatment.