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Raising Happy, Stress-free Kids

courtesy of maxliving.com

Kids are Stressed Out

A 2018 poll among thousands of high school students found that almost 45 percent felt stressed “all the time.”  Other research shows that stress teens confront can rival what adults feel. Even young children aren’t immune to the growing epidemic of stress

Stress for children comes from many sources. School, peer pressure, homework, the constant flow of bad news on TV, and social media are among the things that kids stress about. Bullying and other extreme situations at school or otherwise can only increase that stress.

But stress might come from how children feel:

What they should be doing such as getting straight A’s, rather than doing the best that they can

A certain amount of stress — say, to do well on an exam — is normal and even healthy to help children become emotionally stronger and more resilient to life’s demands. But too much stress can be detrimental and jeopardize a child’s health and overall quality of life

Diseases That May Be Related to Stress

The impact of chronic stress on children can become extremely damaging. Stress may contribute to an increased risk for diseases including:

  1. Obesity

  2. Diabetes

  3. Heart problems

  4. Cancer

  5. Depression

Research shows that chronic stress can even impact a child’s brain development and weaken other organs, creating lifelong health and social problems

Categorizing Stress Among Children

Stress typically comes in two “varieties”: The acute stress a child might feel before a piano recital. This kind of stress is usually short-lived and might even help the child perform better.

Chronic stress, on the other hand, lingers far beyond how the stress response should work. That’s where health and developmental problems can occur

Harvard University elaborates that childhood stress into three categories:

  • Positive stress response is normal and might include encountering a new school teacher.

  • Tolerable stress response might include the loss of a loved one or an injury. Though uncomfortable, the body’s alert system can usually cope with this situation. 

  • Toxic stress response occurs during strong, frequent, and/or prolonged stressors. They include physical or emotional abuse, bullying, and exposure to violence.

Over-activating the stress response systems can have wide-reaching effects on the developing child’s brain and body

How Can You Tell if Your Child Has Tolerable Stress or Toxic Stress?

Determining between those last two categories — a tolerable stress respo