Keeping Stress at Bay

Stress is often seen as a modern day phenomenon. After all, a mere century or two ago, the condition of stress was not as commonly found in people as it is today, certainly not in young children!

It can be very worrying, but the fact remains that stress is and continues to be a pressing issue in school-aged children. We speak to Diana Chandra, a senior counselor with EMCC (Eagles Mediation & Counseling Centre), to find out why stress occurs in young children, and how parents can help to nip this unwanted problem in the bud.

Rising Expectations
One core reason for why stress has never been more prevalent than in the new millennium is likely because of the huge leaps in modern technology and subsequent advancements in education, which lead to a more knowledgeable and demanding world. This, in turn, results in equally large jumps in the expectations parents have of their offspring to keep up with their peers.

Even before birth, parents talk about what they want their little ones to be when they grow up. Doctors, lawyers, astronauts, prime minister of the country…the list is endless. They neglect the most important factor of all – their child’s happiness.

Besides their child’s happiness, they also neglect to think about what their child would be most successful at, and not everyone is meticulous enough to be an accountant or eloquent enough to be a lawyer.

As the child grows, the parent becomes increasingly anxious about how he or she will turn out. If the future scientist shows alarming signs of being a talented Rembrandt instead, mum or dad gets upset, sometimes in a deeply irrational way, and guess who bears the brunt of it all?

Diana reminds parents to “moderate expectations, and be willing to accept your child for their own special talents and gifts.” Impressing unnecessary stress on a young child will have many negative effects on their state of mind, emotional health, and physical body as well.

These effects include ailments like stomachaches or headaches, difficulty in sleeping, loss of appetite and weight loss, even neurotic disorders like paranoia and an unwillingness to explore or venture into unknown territory. All these things are unpleasant, but more than that, they are unnecessary and can be prevented. After all, when all has been said and done, why not give your child a happy childhood, instead of one filled with stressful memories?