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  • Writer's pictureP.E.T. South Africa

Your child and stress

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

Stress is a normal response to changes and challenges. And life is full of those — even during childhood. Although parents can't prevent every upsetting thing a child is exposed to, they can learn to become aware of the possible stressors and teach the child how to acknowledge and manage their emotions. Here's a look at some of the things most likely to cause stress in a child's world.

Separation from a parent

The fear of being away from a parent is a normal developmental process. You can't always physically be there for your child, but your child's perception of you as a beacon of trust can be. Therefore, you must establish that trust bond with your child from a very young age. How? By responding when your child is in distress, being present in times of uncertainty, and acknowledging the emotions the child is not yet able to communicate. You can help your child face an environment away from you by preparing them for the feelings and emotions to come. Discuss what will happen, who the child will meet, how the child will feel, and most importantly, when you will be back. This will take time, and some days will be better than others, so don't lose hope. *If your child's separation anxiety is severe and interferes with your child's life, consider seeking professional help.

Media, games, and technology

Violent and disturbing images intrude on a child's safe space subconsciously. A child can't distinguish between what is real and what is not. And on top of that, a child often sees delinquent behaviour being rewarded via the media they consume. Confusing and destructive messages can cause distress. It can lead to irrational fears and doubts about the natural world and result in a constant state of worry within the child.

You must establish boundaries on what media your child consumes and what games they play - an age limit has a purpose! Talk to your child about what they see and hear, and be in tune with what they are saying so that you can help them to separate fact from fiction.

Illness and death

Always talk to your child about sickness and death honestly (keep it age-appropriate but honest). Let your child know that you understand their worries and don't dismiss their feelings as irrational or inappropriate. Create a safe space for your child free of judgement and ridicule that will encourage them to ask questions.

Help your child cope with stress by teaching them about emotions and talking about the things that cause these emotions. Together, you can come up with solutions for facing challenging times.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this communication is not to be construed as medical advice. Consult a professional on any medical or psychological concerns. The articles and blogs are posted only as opinion or ideas, and are general in nature. The administrator takes no responsibility for any action or outcome a reader may make as a result of reading a post.


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