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"Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see." - Neil postman
A child's overall health is incomplete without good mental health. Mental health is how we think, feel, behave, cope and function in various domains of life, which is intrapersonal, emotional, social, interpersonal and so on. Childhood stress is common and children too feel unhappy, anxious, fearful and angry. They may lack concentration, be forgetful, impulsive, have difficulty in controlling anger or fights, etc. if their mental health is hampered. Stress is an inevitable part of life. Children too can face stress in any environment that requires him or her to adapt or change. Some amount of stress is normal and, in fact, required for survival. But too much of it can be bad for health.
There can be positive or negative changes that can lead to stress in a child's life. For example, going to a new school and starting a new activity are some positive stresses that can help a child develop new skills, adapt to the change in environment and eventually deal with dangerous and intimidating situations. Children also learn to respond to stress as they grow and develop. Childhood stress caused by negative changes such as illness or death in the family can affect the way a child thinks, acts and feels. But prolonged and excessive stress can be harmful and can lead to serious health effects. Dr. Anamika Dubey, Senior Consultant, Pediatrics and Neonatology, Madhukar Rainbow Children's Hospital, shares a few tips to help you recognize the signs. She also tells you how to cope with your child's mental health issues.
Stress can be caused by internal or external influences that disrupt a child's normal state of well being.
These include illness, pain, hunger, fatigue, having negative thoughts about themselves, going through bodily changes. Childhood trauma has a serious impact, which may persist throughout life.
There are many external factors that can cause childhood stress. A few examples include
Children may not recognize that they are stressed. Any new or abnormal behavior may lead parents to suspect stress level in a child.
Some of the physical signs that you, as a parent, need to look out for include
You may also notice some changes in your child's emotions and attitude. These include
You can help your child in many ways to cope with their stress and anxiety. Here are a few tips to recognise childhood stress.
Childhood stress is not uncommon. It indicates that all is not well with the child and issues should be taken seriously. Most parents, teachers and other adults are not sensitive to pick up small changes in behaviour and they often ignore or neglect it in children. It is only when the problem becomes severe that parents pay attention to the child. Seek help or advice from a health care provider, counselor, or therapist when signs of stress do not improve or worsen. NEVER GIVE UP. Our children are the future and our greatest treasure.
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