Michele Tryon: What Is Stressing Our Children and What Can We Do About It?
We are living in stressful times! We need only turn on TV or check our social media to be bombarded with things to be concerned about. We need only look at our weekly calendar to recognize the demands and pressures that face our children, our family and our school community.
We’ve all heard that stress can wreak havoc on physical and emotional well-being, but is there a way to avoid it? We know that children experience stress. Children may feel pressured by the demands of school, homework, sports and friends. Children may struggle with changes like a move, deployment, divorce or a family member getting sick. Whether a child is stressed by every day demands or unexpected changes a parent or caregiver can play a critical part in helping the child successfully cope.
Key components that help children navigate stress successfully are:
- Having a strong connection to another person who cares about their well-being and from whom they can gather strength.
- Being allowed to experience and express a range of emotions without being dismissed or ignored.
- Feeling strong emotions and getting through them in order to develop a sense of competence.
- Having parents (or caregivers) who are emotionally aware, empathic and able to provide a strong foundation at home.
- Feeling physically and emotionally safe, so they can engage in problem solving and decision making.
When we care about and validate our children’s concerns AND help them view life’s challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, they learn to navigate stress successfully.
We can model healthy stress management by eating right, exercising and taking time to enjoy our families. When we embrace the joys of parenting along with the day to day stresses, our children experience a healthy balance. When our children see us calmly respond to stressful situations with thoughtful deliberate action, they learn that it is possible to successfully navigate life with all of its ups and downs.
Want more detail on how to lessen tension, increase cooperation and support a well-balanced family life? Visit CHKD.org/classes and register to attend a FREE Family Stress workshop on Wednesday evening, March 25th at the CHKD Health and Surgery Center at Princess Anne.
About the Author
Michele Tryon is a certified child life specialist, a certified Positive Discipline™ parent educator and a nationally recognized Nurturing Parenting Program™ trainer/consultant. Michele is Community Outreach Coordinator for The Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and is co-chair of the Hampton Roads Parenting Education Network.
Are you as involved in your child’s education as you would like to be? See what new research shows about parent engagement in our schools.
Whether it is helping a child with homework, volunteering at a school event or simply working with teachers when an issue arises, parents are taking an active role in our schools. A recent survey shows that levels of parent involvement are increasing. But, there is always room for the school division to create new opportunities for parents and the community to become in engaged. We wanted to know how satisfied parents are with current opportunities and what barriers may be keeping them from being more involved. The school division recently worked with the local research firm Issues and Answers to survey parents about their involvement and communication needs. You can learn more about the survey and see the results here.
The number of students who receive food each week through the Beach Bags program.
Beach Bags are funded entirely through donations.