Monday, June 21, 2010

Identifying signs of stress in children and teens

Young people, like adults, experience stress. It can come from a variety of sources including school, friends, family or managing perceived expectations from parents, teachers or coaches. Adults can sometimes be unaware when their children or teens are experiencing overwhelming feelings of stress. Tuning into behavioral and emotional cues is important in identifying potential problems and working with your young person to provide guidance and support to successfully work through difficult times. Here are some tips from the American Psychological Association on ways to recognize possible signs of stress:

-Watch for negative changes in behavior such as acting irritable or moody, withdrawn, worried, sleeping to much or too little, and crying.

-Understand that "feeling sick" may be caused by stress.

-Be aware of how your child or teen interacts with others.

-Listen and translate. Children may not be familiar with the word stress, they may use words such as confused, angry, annoyed and worried.

-Seek support. Mental health professionals are trained to help parents and children identify problems and develop effective strategies to resolve overwhelming feelings of stress.

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