Stress: How It Affects You and Your Child

My husband went to check the mail this morning and my wonderful Mother-In-Law sent us a package filled with goodies!  I got new recipes, reading and coloring books for Lyrical, first-aide supplies and all kinds of other cool stuff!  I want to share with you some information on a flyer she sent from Children's Home Society of California about stress.....

Being a parent or caregiver can sometimes seem like an overwhelming responsibility, especially when you have to deal with everything else life brings.  While we're caring for our children, we are also fulfilling many other roles that can create stress at home, work and in other settings.  If not recognized and dealt with , stress can affect our physical, emotional, and mental health.  As a result, our family environment will be affected, especially our children.

"It is important to pay attention to your body to recognize signs of stress so you can take steps to respond in a healthy manner.  You may not be able to eliminate causes of stress, but you can reduce and manage it so you can function at your best for yourself and for your child."

*Causes Of Stress*
Stress can be caused by a variety of positive and negative factors or a combination of factors.  Some sources of stress are:
-The sickness or death of a loved one
-Hardships affecting family and friends
-Relationship trouble
-Loss of work
-A new job
-Balancing work and family
-A new baby
-Disciplining children
-Financial troubles
-Moving to a new home

*Effects of Stress*
Stress can affect you physically, emotionally, and mentally.  It may cause you to react to others and situations with less control than you normally would.  Listed below are some of the effects that stress may have on you and others.
-Lashing out at children
-Neglecting children
-Problems with relationships
-Difficulties at work
-Health problems
-Disorderly home environment
-Inability to concentrate

*Signs Of Stress*
Your body often tells you when you are under stress.  Pay attention to these signs, especially a combination of them.
-Back pain
-High blood pressure
-Frequent sickness
-Unusual weight loss/gain
-Frequent indigestion
-Feelings of depression
-Stomach aches
-Difficulty sleeping
-Feelings of anxiety
-Cold sores
-Overeating or undereating

*Reducing Stress*
The following suggestions may help to reduce the level of stress in your life.
-Exercise. (You can burn off chemicals that build up in your body during stress.)
-Eat healthy foods. (Avoid processed foods.  Eat less sugar and fatty foods and more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods.)
Avoid caffeine (that's a hard one), drugs, and nicotine.
-Make time to get adequate sleep and rest. (Most adults need an average of eight hours of sleep per day.  Children need an average of 10 to 12 hours, depending on their age.)
-Find hobbies you enjoy.
-Get family members involved to help with responsibilities at home.
-Learn to say "no" when you have the option.
-Make a list of "things to do" to eliminate the clutter in your mind.
-Seek support from family and friends.
-Take time to take care of yourself.

**Focus On Children**
The manner in which you manage you own stress greatly influences your children's levels of stress and how they respond to it.

Try to establish a predictable routine for children to follow.  Observe regular times for homework, meals, play, quiet time, and sleep.

Pay attention to how children react during stressful times by listening to them and observing their body language and behavior.

To Learn More....

Books For Children
Getting Out Of A Stress Mess!
Michaelene Mundy, illustrated by R.W. Alley

Harriet, you'll Drive Me Wild!
Mem Fox, illustrated by Marla Frazee

Books For Adults
Becoming The Parent You Want To Be
Laura Davis and Janis Keyser

The Don't Sweat Guide For Parents
Don't Sweat Press, forward by Richard Carlson, Ph.D.

The American Academy Of Pediactrics
(847) 434-4000 or


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