Stress being a state of mental, emotional strain and tension resulting from adverse circumstances, it is a normal human reaction, that happens to everyone. Actually, the human body is designed to experience stress and react to it _Ouch! Despite the endless efforts in dodging stress, we still have to undergo the situation. Anxiety on the other hand, is a strong feeling of worry and nervousness usually about something with an uncertain outcome. Considering the harm this two could cause to an individual, we can definitely tell what they could do to our – young, independent and helpless – children. This could happen right under our noses or in the hands of those we entrust our children (Baby-sitters, Daycare attendants). Younger children may pick up new habits like thumb sucking, hair twirling, or nose picking; older kids may begin to lie, bully, or defy authority. A child who is stressed also may overreact to minor problems, have nightmares, become clingy, or have drastic changes in academic performance. To help us under and curb the problem of stress and anxiety in our sources of joy, below I have highlighted the top signs of stress and anxiety they could be suffering.
1. Nervous habits
Unlike us adults, children are unable to keep stress and anxiety under their skin – taking a nap, having a cup of caffeine or grabbing a beer – no matter how little it could be. Nail-biting could be a sign somebody is deeply thinking about something. A child may do this to distract themselves from thinking too much about something that is making them feel the opposite of safe. Thumb sucking too could be a sign your child is not okay. However, do not confuse with a child whose thumb sucking started long ago.
2. Difficulty concentrating
When a child cannot pay attention to even their favorite show on the TV, or even their best subject during home lessons, it clear sign of stress and anxiety. This could also be accelerated by the stressors – sources of stress – being around the environment the child is in. The child highly focuses on the stressor making them look like they really have interest in it. For example, your child could develop felinophobia – an intense fear of cats that is strong and causes panic and anxiety when around or think about cats. While the child keeps noting the position of the cats in the house, you will get confused and think that the child really wants the cats to be close to them.
3. Night mares
“Please leave me alone…!!” or “Mama please help me…!!” or suddenly moving their limbs while asleep are signs your child is suffering from nightmares. Research has it that most nightmares are memories of an experience a person underwent while awake or a narrative – with voice mimics and gestures that relate to their environment – they were told. This has a great input in the type of dreams they get when they go sleep. Being exposed to a stressful environment, could be a harsh nanny, new siblings around the house could be a reason for this, especially when there is no merging or understanding among them.
Bed-wetting can occur up to the age of five years as part of normal child development – which is not a must. It could also be due to a small bladder size and other biological reasons. However, when a child starts wetting the bed – while before they did not – that is an alarm raised. Different reasons could be tagged to this pop up behavior. Maybe you moved to a new house or bizarre event took place in the house – like domestic fight between parents – and the child does not feel very safe walking around the corridors in that atmosphere. They could also be reacting to changes in the family like a new baby. Your child could do this to signal that they are stressed and are worried about their position after being replaced as the child, hence acting ‘baby’ again.
5. Overreacting to minor problems
Before I started my list, I mentioned that stress is designed to make us react to whatever we do not like and change our current state until we are comfortable with what we get. On the contrary, when a child overreacts to a very minor problem, it is a definite sign that they are stressed or anxious. Not reading them a bedtime story, not giving a goodnight kiss on their forehead or even saying, “Goodnight sweetheart!” alone could start a fire. Also when you do not give them a special position or role when they are playing with the others could leads to violence between them and the other children. This is all part of growth, and children could be starting to realize that is not as fun as they thought as they grow up. All together, they are just growing up and development is taking place – hormones, you know.
6. Changes in eating patterns
A child is one weird being and you all can agree with me. If they want plate full of blue berries and all you have is a cool glass of fruit smoothie, believe me you will definitely get – one hearted of course. We got an obligation to please them you know. Well, my point is, when your child’s desire towards food or even their favorite foods diminishes, be warned. Stress in children tends to make them eat less or eat more than they do. When your baby-boy or baby-girl lowers their quantity of food intake, it could mean they are trying to focus on their stressor. They are definitely thinking of how to eliminate it or deal with it – fight or flight. On the other hand, when their appetite goes high, it means they are actually distracting themselves from their source of stress. Be watchful on their patterns on food intake, for there are different ways to handle this state depending on whether they are over eating or under eating.
7. Changes in moods and behavior
Hooosh! Mood swings again? Well, we all have and do suffer this. However, when it comes to younger individuals and children in this case, their rate of mood change should be lower. They do not have much to think about you know. A child’s thought are supposed to be relaxed and free. Everything they do is fun and playful including things we take seriously. Change in mood definitely leads to change in behavior and how your child responds to w but that is happening around them. Be watchful for any changes in moods and you will definitely note change in behavior. To curb this, try engaging them in some fun activity, uncovering some funny memories and make sure they are participating. For example joining you in a song they remember, completing a statement for you and more exiting activities. You could also help them do something they find hard doing and convince them why disappointments are possible.
8. Withdrawal and isolation
We all have that alone time when stressed or disappointed. Where you really need to breath as we call it. For your child, it should be the opposite. Your child should approach you with whatever it is bothering them. Withdrawal and isolation involves avoiding social contact and not ready to interact with others. A child’s withdrawal is clearly notable, when they start playing alone, staying for longer hours in their rooms or even enjoying their own company. It is pretty serious when your child suffers withdrawal. This is because, it means they could have tried talking to someone but they were never heard out. This is sadly the last stage before suicide, for they have no one else to report to. Be careful to note withdrawal in you child and trying talking them out of whatever they could be going through. Some children could be introverts and it happens. Others just shift direct to withdrawal or isolation immediately they are stressed. My point is, you ought to learn your son’s or daughter’s behaviors and note anything different from the usual.
9. Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Earlier in this article, I mentioned nightmares and yes! They could highly contribute to trouble sleeping to your child. Thinking a lot about the stressor is another reason your baby cannot have a good night sleep. Also, sleeping too much is a sign of stress even in adults. Most times we tend to lie in our beds as we figure out how to deal with a certain situation. As a result we could find ourselves in the slumber land. Sleeping helps us relax and it gives us a virtual way of tackling our problems. That why you could sleep with a problem but on waking up, you clearly have a solution. When your child gives signs of sleeping more than they should, try assessing their daily activities which could be the source of their stressors.
10. Refusing to go to school
When I was growing, the term quitting school was not that common, but it was familiar. There different reasons a child could refuse to attend to their academic rights. This could be highly caused by bullying in school, being homesick or even a feeling that school activities are too complex for them. Also, the stressor could not be in school, they could only be in need of a cool environment to think. Children take time thinking about the impossible than the possible. Reaction to their shows on TV especially a series when an actor they like could be their focus and they really cannot think until they are sure about what happens next. Your child could also be in fear that, whatever that is causing them to be anxious could be in school too. A formal environment in school – their class teacher is as serious as hell, does not joke like Auntie Julie – could be another reason they really would not want to go to school.
Content created and supplied by: Alexxy (via Opera News )
Opera News is a free to use platform and the views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent, reflect or express the views of Opera News. Any/all written content and images displayed are provided by the blogger/author, appear herein as submitted by the blogger/author and are unedited by Opera News. Opera News does not consent to nor does it condone the posting of any content that violates the rights (including the copyrights) of any third party, nor content that may malign, inter alia, any religion, ethnic group, organization, gender, company, or individual. Opera News furthermore does not condone the use of our platform for the purposes encouraging/endorsing hate speech, violation of human rights and/or utterances of a defamatory nature. If the content contained herein violates any of your rights, including those of copyright, and/or violates any the above mentioned factors, you are requested to immediately notify us using via the following email address operanews-external(at)opera.com and/or report the article using the available reporting functionality built into our Platform See More