Stress circles us on a daily basis. How? From traffic delays to the workplace, worries about health or finances, and news reports of world events, the demands of our everyday life produces both positive as well as negative stress. Whether positive or negative, one thing is certain – stress raises the body’s anxiety levels. Stressors can be physical, theoretical, emotional, or environmental. Even positive circumstances like weddings and job promotions cause stress. It is toxic in nature, and children can be affected by it just the same as adults. What are the stress effects on child development is briefly explained below?
Stress effects on the mental health of your child- what you should know
The incidence of substance abuse and dependency, anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies and other mental health issues goes up when a child lives with toxic stress. So does their inclination to be more violent or become a victim of violence.
Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown that when a child is subjected to frequent or continual stress from things like negligence, dysfunctional families, emotional traumas, abuse, lacking adequate support from adults, their brain structure is actually altered and their organ systems become weak. As a result, these children risk stress that can have lifelong health and social problems.
Of the 17,000 children who took part in this study, two-thirds had Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) score of 1 or higher. 87% of those children had more than one ACE. Researchers were able to assess the risks of chronic diseases. Their results showed that the problem of stress is limited to children from all walks of life. So as a parent, how to help your child from stress? Recognise the signs of stress in your child today, and take appropriate action to reduce stress effects.
Signs of stress in children
Children exposed to stress exhibit these signs:
- Poor functioning skills
- Reduced impulse control
- Lack self-regulation
- Maladaptive coping skills
- Poor stress management
Research studies on children who face continued stress show:
- Face troubles learning at school
- A difficulty with forming new and healthy relationships
- Higher chances of developing unhealthy behaviours such as substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, engaging in high-risk sports, smoking and alcohol abuse
- Higher incidences of depressive disorder, behavioural disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), and even psychosis
- Poor health outcomes such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and higher suicide risk.
Where to seek help with helping the child cope with stress?
Certainly – gathering knowledge is the key to prevent and reduce stress in children. Now that we know about the stress effects on child development, we need to set up action plans and measures to turn lives around.
Protecting your child from stress involves a multi-faceted approach that targets both the child and the caretaker in order to strengthen the stability in the family. Treatment for stress in children includes intervention techniques such as play therapy, Cognitive behavioural therapy, group therapy, family-based programs, access to social support for parents, and peer support are beneficial, relaxation methods like mindfulness and yoga. Additionally, community-based programs and implementation of practices that decrease stressors strengthens the child’s response to stress.
Have any questions? We can help
If you have any queries and want to know more about effects of stress on a child, how to treat it, talk to us today at Cadabam’s Hospitals or call at +91 97414 76476. Don’t hesitate as your child deserves to live a stress-free life.