"Alright, everyone in the car!” This is my daily battle cry. Unfortunately, many days there are too many battles (“No, I don’t know where your soccer ball is! Did you forget your saxophone? What is that car funk smell? What do you mean, you don’t have shoes on?”) and way too much crying before we ever get out the driveway. Many of us feel stress, but how much of our stress is felt by our children?
A recent American Psychological Association survey of 1,568 adults aged 18+ and for the first time included 1,206 young people aged 8-17 years, reported that we are all feeling stress. It showed 75% of adults feel moderate to high stress and most children reported stress too.
What is interesting, is that many parents did not feel that their child had stress or recognized that their children had physical symptoms from stress. 63% of the parents surveyed said they believed their stress levels had slight or no influence on their child’s stress levels. In fact, 91% of children reported that they had stress with many reporting physical symptoms and that their stress was related to their parents’ stress.
Children Reported Physical Symptoms Related to Stress
Left are 8-12 yr olds TWEENS
Right are 13-17 year olds TEENS
This compares what the children actually reported vs what their parents thought that they would report.
30%/42% say they get headaches vs. 13% of parents
39%/49% cite difficulty sleeping vs. 13% of parents
27%/39% report eating too much or too little vs. 8% of parents
What are 5 common things our children stress out about?
1. 44% /43% worry about doing well in school
2. 28%/31% worry about family having enough money
3. 5%/29% getting in to a good college
4. 17%/26% how they look/weigh
5. 22% /11% getting along with friends
5 Stress Busters for Kids
1. Be available and set the low stress example:
85% of kids surveyed said they were not comfortable talking to Mom or Dad because parents are so busy. Get off the computer or the cell phone or blackberry and be available to your child so you can really listen to them. It is often not advice than children need, but to be heard.