Childhood is an incredible time of growing, learning and adjusting to new experiences but today’s children seem to be carrying increasing burdens of stress which can impact their development. There is a disturbing trend in which children as young as eight years old are showing high levels of anxiety and parents could be underestimating how their own stress may be affecting their children. [1]

How Stress is Impacting the Family

Research findings show that many families are facing a continual cycle of high stress and then attempting to handle their situations in unhealthy ways.[2] In our fast-paced society, a growing number of parents experience excessive stress that puts them at risk for developing chronic illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, anxiety and depression.

As parents, continual stress can have deep implications on children who are keenly aware of their parent’s behaviour and it can impact them on both psychological and physical levels. Studies have shown that excessive, chronic activation of the stress response in the body and brain can have damaging effects on healthy childhood development. [3]

3 Kinds of Stress Responses

An important aspect of any child’s growth is learning to deal with adversity and overcoming the challenges of life. When children face normal stressful situations and they are in a supportive environment, the result is the development of healthy stress response systems. But, if a child is exposed to extreme and chronic stress and their environment lacks supportive relationships, the result can be weakened bodily systems and impaired brain function. [3]

It is helpful to define three types of stress responses and the affects on the body [3]:

  1. Positive

    This type of stress response is perfectly normal and involves a brief increase in heart rate and temporary hormone elevations that are needed to deal with the challenging event. For a child, these situations could include the first day at school or pre-match jitters.

  2. Tolerable

    When a sudden or terrifying event occurs such as a severe injury or the loss of a loved one occurs, the body’s stress response goes into a high gear in order to cope with the emotional and physical effects of the situation. If the stress activation response is relatively short-lived and the child has the support of adults who can help him or her adapt to the circumstances, the brain and other organs are able to recover.

  3. Toxic

    This occurs when a child goes through severe, repeated and/or prolonged stressful circumstances including abuse, neglect, violence or even the accumulated burden of an unhealthy family environment without the needed buffer of supportive relationships. This kind of chronic stress activation can increase the likelihood of stress-related illnesses, cognitive dysfunction and health problems later in life.

Recognizing Signs of Stress in your Child

Every child reacts to stress in their own way and it is important for parents to be alert to possible signs of stress such as changes in behaviour, emotional eruptions, withdrawal, difficulty coping at school or chronic health problems. It is vital that parents dialogue with their children to understand how they are responding to stress and give them the needed support and encouragement. Teaching children about how to identify and manage their stress in healthy ways will help them to learn good behaviour patterns which they will benefit from in later life. [4]

Stress Management

As role models for their children, parents need to recognize their own stress and take action when circumstances are leading to toxic stress responses in the family. Even when the current situation cannot be changed there are steps that can be taken to alleviate the stress symptoms and assist the body and brain to handle pressurized situations. Lifestyle changes that can play an important role include eating a diet that is nutrient-rich, participating in regular exercise, ensuring everyone in the family gets sufficient rest and making a point of setting aside time for relaxation and family time.

Should the stressful circumstances be too overwhelming or if a parent is concerned about their child, professional counselling and support may help change perceptions of stress for a more positive outlook.

Complimentary Medication

Together with making lifestyle changes, it is beneficial to make use of nutrients, vitamins and botanical compounds that are proven to assist with mental fatigue and alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety and despair in difficult circumstances.

NeuroVance is your 2 in 1 solution for stress and mental exhaustion as it contains individual plant-derived ingredients to help support healthy brain function and assist with mood regulation and concentration. The unique combination of natural compounds have few side effects making it ideal to be taken by adults and children over 12 years and no prescription is needed.

Stress doesn’t have to rule your life and take it’s toll on your family. Take action! Try NeuroVance today: 

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References:

  1. http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2010/11/stress-in-america.aspx
  2. apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/index.aspx
  3. http://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/toxic-stress/
  4. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress-children.aspx