How stressed are your kids? Do you know what’s making them feel so anxious?

Americans are so accustomed to stress that a recent study finding 75 percent of adults feel moderate to high levels of stress would hardly qualify as “news” to most of us. My personal response to those figures was a simple, “eh, that’s about right” – even though I doubt my life at the moment could be classified as particularly stressful.

I am married with three young children, and there are certainly stresses that go with that. But on the whole, our family isn’t facing any major upheavals –the birth of a baby, unemployment, a big move, divorce, loss or sickness of a family member – that can really cause stress levels to spike. We are among the millions of Americans in the middle, who are going along to get along. For that, I feel incredibly grateful.

But do I also feel stressed? Yes. Moderately to highly stressed? Yes, often. For me, it’s the little things that pile up – endless housework; training our dog not to eat the window casings on the house; figuring out how to feed all three kids and be at one child’s band concert and another’s softball game at the same time; getting our kindergartner to sit down and do her homework; children bickering, etc.

While none of these are unbearable, together they create the buzzing environment that has become a fact of life in our household. The buzz grows louder or quiets slightly from day-to-day and week-to-week. When it gets too loud, I have learned to hit the tennis courts, listen to comforting music (the Wheat Pool’s Hauntario is my current stress-buster) or just entertain wild thoughts of moving the whole Still clan to south Saskatchewan.

Given that the feeling of stress has become normal for so many adults, it’s not surprising that most children and teens are also feeling moderate (or more) stress. In fact, more than 90 percent of the 1,206 kids participating in the study felt pretty stressed or worse.

What stresses out a child can be vastly different from what stresses out an adult. School, self-image and friendships make up most of youthful respondents’ stress factors. However, the study showed that kids are definitely sensitive to the fact that their parents are anxious – even though their parents may think they’re shielding their worries pretty well. Sixty-three percent of parents believed their stress-levels had little or no impact on their children, but about a third of the youth respondents were concerned about “family having enough money” and 36 percent of kids were more worried this summer than last summer (before the worst news of the recession and unemployment hit).

Overall, 31 percent of parents thought their children felt little to no stress, but only 9 percent of the children and youth reported little or no stress at all.

If the idea of your little ones feeling stressed out over your anxieties (and their own) leaves you feeling…well, stressed, the American Psychological Association (APA) has some tips to help.

First, parents can be on the lookout for indications that stress may be affecting their children. Just like adults, children who experience headaches, have difficulty sleeping or begin eating noticeably more or less than usual may be suffering from stress. Stomachaches, indigestion and irritability are other common signs.

When talking with children about stress, the APA suggests that parents start the conversation, listen actively to kids’ concerns, act as a role model in stress management and thoughtfully address children’s anxieties by giving age-appropriate information on the issues that are causing the stress.  

Do you think your child is stressed? Do the findings in the study sound way off or about right to you? How do you help soothe your children’s anxieties? Do you use the same or different tactics to deal with your own personal stresses? Have you ever sought professional assistance to help your child deal with an unusual stress factor (i.e. death, divorce, etc.)? What are your best tips for helping kids (and yourself) handle the everyday stresses?

 

48 comments Add your comment

Vork

November 6th, 2009
7:21 am

Growing up I was a very overanxious kid and it would typically lead to nausea. And what made it worse was the fear of embarassment from getting sick made the nausea even worse…..talk about a vicious cycle. I learned to cope as I grew up but still have “spells” every now and then, but they are usually qwelled rather quickly.

I spent my entire freshman year of high school vomiting EVERY morning before I left worried about the pressures. Yes kids and I went to East Cobb schools.

Neither of my children show signs of this yet thank goodness. Nothing is worse than throwing up….

madmommy

November 6th, 2009
7:54 am

Stress is common in life these days and I am doing my best to keep my levels down since as a whole, the more stressed I am, the more everyone in the house is. SO, I workout everyday at least for 30-45 minutes (more if I can), eat a balanced diet and try to focus on the stressers rather than think they will go away. Talking to your kids about things is one of the best things you can do, but most parents think that their kids are to young to understand. If they are getting stressed about it and starting to do odd things, then they are old enough to understand. You just have to phrase it in a way that allows them to understand on their level. I think most times kids don’t understand that they are not the problem and they tend to blame themselves with whatever is bothering mom and dad. I know, I used to think and feel the same way when my parents were divorcing. I would make a dinner, bake a cake and write letters to each of them as if they came from the other. Sad, but that’s how my little kid mind worked at the time.

Just keep focused on your family, keep activity levels up (playing outside or dancing in the house are great stress busters), and eat right. You would be amazed at how well your children behave with good food in their systems. When we were having all these horrible rains a while back my daughter and I got drenched in the rain, I mean drenched. I started laughing and dancing in the rain and for a few mintues my daughter thought I lost my mind until she joined in. We made the most fun out of that day and took pictures once in the house. It’s all how you relate to your children and deal with issues as a family.

madmommy

November 6th, 2009
7:56 am

PS. T- Get over the house thing. I clean once a week and do little things a few times a week, but I would rather my kids remember the fun we had when they were little, than me stressing out over the house being a wreck. (I do keep it really clean since we always have friends stopping by, but I just try to do a little everyday to stay on top of things.)

Photius

November 6th, 2009
8:17 am

I had a neurotic mother who’s behavior would transfer stress onto me. She was uptight, stressed, neurotic, and demanded performace of her children; perfect combo for making her own children stressed out. Thanks a lot mom…

JJ

November 6th, 2009
8:28 am

Kids are stressed because they are SO involved in too many activities, and don’t get to be “Kids” anymore.

Parents are so afraid of their kid doing drugs or falling in with the wrong crowd, so they keep them extremely busy. I know a girl who played softball with my daughter who had an activity every single night. Piano lessons, tennis lessons, softball, pitching practice and ballet. That poor child never got to have fun and just be a 10 year old……

No stress, No drama in my house…..

Stan

November 6th, 2009
9:16 am

I was the most relaxed kid ever! I did not stress about anything. Test? no worries. Didn’t get the homework done? Whatever! hehe

Of course facing unemployment in a week with a wife already unemployed…i’m on Xanax, go figure.

Becky

November 6th, 2009
9:28 am

@Vork, sorry that you went through that as a young man..I could not imagine going through that..

I don’t stress out over much..I see no reason to worry about something that I can’t change..I think this comes from my Mom..I grew up watching her worry over everything, so I go just the other way..

@madmomy, same for you with the letter writing..That is great that you thought of doing that..I agree that I would rather have the little ones remember the good times, not me wanting the house to perfect..

@Stan..I still have you in my thoughts..I just know that you and your wife will get another job..It may not be exactly what y’all want, but hopefully it will get you through for a while..

FCM

November 6th, 2009
9:36 am

Um lets see…

School is all about the CRCT learning and not really fun.

School is no longer segregated by ability so the really slow readers/math people know just how far they are behind their peers.

Recess is 15 min a day if it happens at all.

Susie and Billy are in ’structured play’ with all the extra carriculars that will make them well rounded for college.

Kids are hung up on lables (see Christmas post about Angel Tree and branding) and feel less than adequate when they are in the have nots.

People cannot let their kids out to play like they used to because we are more concerned about predators.

Add in the blended families, the non convential families, and single parents (this means single Dads too) and it gets more hectic.

Then there are the ‘little’ things we all remember. Homework, Tests, fights with friends.

Vork

November 6th, 2009
9:52 am

@Becky

Yeah it was kinda rough….especially hiding it from my friends….the last thing I wanted them to do was see me get sick…..which of course made fighting it off all the more exhausting.

Meme

November 6th, 2009
10:45 am

Some of the stressers that kids face come from home situations. My siblings and I had to hide the fact that we had an abusive father. Of course in the 50’s and 60’s almost nothing would have happened to him anyway. Some of my students deal with hunger, poverty and abuse in their homes. I try so hard to understand and help.

JATL

November 6th, 2009
10:59 am

@Vork -hopefully your kids won’t have that problem. I’m sorry you did. High School is usually crappy enough without starting every day puking! So many people don’t realize what a horrible number anxiety can do on a person. I’m glad you have it pretty much under control now.

I have been so stressed out and upset since my mom died in September, and I think it’s definitely having an effect on my oldest child. He’s only 3, and we were having issues before, but now that I seem to have 0 patience and 0 ability to deal with my emotions, it makes the entire situation that much worse. We’re trying to get on top of it, and I’m trying to let some things go (like the house -not that it’s perfectly clean at any time, but it’s big and I cannot keep it clean or even picked up with two small children!) -of course with the house, most people with a house this size can afford a cleaning service, but we’re also having financial problems, so all of that keeps me stressed out. I think the only thing that kept me half-way sane before September was help from my mother. She would take the 3 year old for a day or two when I couldn’t take anymore; she helped me out a lot if I wanted to join the Y or do something like that to feel better and de-stress, but now that she’s gone I have no outlets and no help. I’m trying to get back into walking/jogging, but I have planter fascitus (sp) and a heel spur, and the dr. told me to swim, but hey -can’t afford it! I’m working part-time and that has to pick up soon or I’m just going to get whatever job I can, and if it only pays for childcare -so be it. With the market down, that’s why I haven’t gone back to work full-time, but I don’t think it’s even healthy for me or the kids to be with each other all day every day anymore. At any rate, I’m so stressed out right now I feel like I’m going to jump out of my skin.

I am going to suggest something for others that DOES finally seem to be helping me a little -and that’s meditation. A lot of people laugh it off as impossibly new-agey or think you have to be a Buddhist or something, and that’s not true. I hadn’t really thought about doing it until we had a meditation time at church last Sunday, and I realized how calm I felt afterward. I felt better than I had in a long time. Honestly, it’s extremely difficult for me to find time to meditate, but I’m trying -at least in little increments -to grab a few minutes here and there. I’m also going to try to get my 3 year old to do it with me. I think it would help him calm himself.

So that’s my rant. I don’t care if you read it, but it certainly felt better to spill it all out here!

DB

November 6th, 2009
12:07 pm

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

I think that recognizing and letting go of things in your life that are not under your control is a big stress reliever. Other people’s opinions are a major thing that you cannot change — once I got to the point in my life where I realized that I didn’t give a damn about what other people thought, it was a major stress reducer. That’s hard for kids, though, because so much of their identity is wrapped up in peer groups and trying to figure out how they fit in to their life.

JATL, I’m sorry about your mother. That’s a lot of emotional stress you just have to work through, but grieving is painful.

melissai

November 6th, 2009
12:38 pm

JATL, do you have any friends that have children that you could trade a day or two of child care here and there? Does your church offer MMO (mother’s morning out) days? I’m very sorry that you lost your mother.

GA Mom

November 6th, 2009
1:00 pm

Oddly enough, my kids aren’t stressed. Just exhausted by so much homework. They get excellent grades (mostly A’s) and rank in the highest percentile for school testing. We used to live in DeKalb but now we’re in Fulton. Although there were no changes in grades, there were more activities afforded to them in the area where we live. Stressful but a better quality of life.

Nicole

November 6th, 2009
1:05 pm

Lets see…8 years old…make sure I’m dressed on time, make sure I catch the bus on time, make sure I behave in class, make sure I get good grades, make sure I remember my homework for reading, language, science, social studies, math and AIM class. make sure I dont talk or get overly excited, make sure i don’t forget my lunch, make sure I remember to wash my hands. Basketball practice, girl scouts, clean room, don’t leave toys where they don’t belong, don’t talk loud when mommy or daddy are on the phone, don’t interrupt, don’t forget my please and thank yous, does my friend like me today? does my teacher llike me? does mommy and daddy like me? is dinner something I don’t like tonight? oops..forgot to feed the dog. :) I’d say they’re pretty stressed..to assume not would be totally ignorant.

JATL

November 6th, 2009
1:13 pm

One thing I am fortunate to have is fantastic friends, and a few of them and I do trade off sometime for babysitting. I have a few good sitters too, but we can only afford them once in a new moon. One saving grace is that my 3 year old goes to a MMO type program 3 times a week for a 1/2 day. I would be in the looney bin by now if he didn’t! Life isn’t completely horrible -my husband has realized that he has to step it up a little more than usual these days, and he’s always very good about me going out with the girls. He took some time off the other day to give me a break because he knew we had a VERY rough morning around here. We’re also in counseling w/ the 3 year old, so hopefully soon that is going to yield some better behavior. If not, and I quit posting, you’ll know I just drove off into the moonlight one night ;-) I am hoping that between my father and my friends, they can cover child care and help us get out of town for a long weekend for my upcoming big birthday. At this point, even though we could desperately use it, I don’t care if my husband goes -if he has to take care of the kids. I would love to be by myself for several days to grieve, think, meditate, rest and try to get my mind around some things!

Tiffany

November 6th, 2009
1:14 pm

It seems to me that it’s the PARENTS here with the stress…not our kids! It certainly is a sign of the times…

Sharon

November 6th, 2009
1:37 pm

I am sorry that your mom died. My mom died too – four years ago. It was the biggest stressor for my 9 year old AND me. Now, my children are 13 and 19. We don’t overbook them (however they have an adequate amount of extracurriculars) that are generally seasonal. My 13 year old gets to play outside and we do fun things together like walking to the top of St Mtn which by the way, helps to alleviate stress. Exercise definitely helps and you need friends & family to help with the little kids. I’ll pray for you.

oneofeach4me

November 6th, 2009
1:38 pm

I know I stress and I know for a fact it transfers to the kids. Even when I try to mask it.. They can pick up on my energy and end up playing off it.

I do try to remind myself that I have it better than a lot of people and mostly feel guilty about even being stressed! “What do I have to be stressed out about?” I say to myself. But, what I have learned is that everyone’s problems are huge and urgent in their own minds. What effects you directly is a lot of times all we can see. And.. as I have also learned by a turbulent childhood, is that families are a unit, what effects one effects all. What I go through, my children go through second handedly. When there is joy it transfers, when there is tragedy it also transfers.

Most of my stress is feeling there just isn’t enough time in the day. I want to be with my kids more… but corporate calls and demands 40+ hours a week. If I stop answering that call then the bill collectors will be calling. I go back and forth about providing a better life for my children and just being able to be at home with them more. With just the cost of living alone with no accessories requires mostly a two income household. But where does that leave our children??

Denise

November 6th, 2009
1:46 pm

I was a stressed out child and I think my nephew is on his way to being stressed. When I was growing up my parents’ relationship was very, very unstable and instability wreaks havoc on a child. I, like Vork, was nauseous a lot of time. I had acid reflux in high school (and still do)! I started to think in an adult way: worrying about being a financial burden (not asking for things and not wanting to get too excited about material things in case they couldn’t afford it), taking on a lot of responsibility of my brother (4 years younger), etc. I am still the crazy caretaker that is nauseous a lot. My nephew is on his way to being me. My brother and his wife are verrrrrry unstable relationship-wise. He takes a lot of responsibility for his younger brother and baby sister. He’s a worrier. I think my sister-in-law takes advantage of his kindness and sensitivity to others. It’s sad.

motherjanegoose

November 6th, 2009
1:57 pm

My mom was always stressed and that transferred to me. I have tried not to be compulsive about things at home…have troubel with it all the time.

My husband is almost NEVER stressed. He came from a family with 2 alcoholics and everything was random. He is perfectly fine with eating dinner now where none of the dishes match ( just grab anything from the pantry) and we use paper towels instead of napkins. Just toss the silverware out to folks at the table when they sit down….hahaha!

To me, stress is heightened by lack of sleep. I arrived here last night
at 11:00 Atlanta time. I like to rent the same model of car no matter where I go, as I can find all the light/wiper/ trunk switches.
They did not have what I wanted, even though I am an frequent renter.
I walked out to the SUV and unloaded everything in. Plugged in my GPS and it did not work…the fuse was out in the car. I marched all the way back into the airport and the girl came out to see what was up.
She agreed that it was the car and then suggested a new car. I transferred everything into it, while she got the keys. She went back in the airport. I started the car and could not find out where the lights went on. I was then STRESSED, as I did not want to go back in a second time. It was now going on 11:30 my time.

I asked a TOTAL STRANGER ( SEE LAST NIGHT’S POST)TO HELP ME. He looked around the dash and finally found them.

These are the things that stress me out….really kid of silly but I was exhausted and had to drive in a new town, new car, to a place I have never been!

JJ

November 6th, 2009
2:22 pm

JATL I am so sorry for your loss. I know what it’s like to lose a parent.

Honey, you need to take some time for yourself. This isn’t healthy. You need some girlfriend time. Have hubby watch the kids, find a girlfriend and go out to dinner., a movie, a walk in the park. Someone you can really talk to. Relax. I know it’s easier said than done, but YOU REALLY NEED TO UNWIND……I know it’s tough to lose a parent, especially with the closeness of your mother. Is your father still around? Maybe the two of you could take some quality time together……

JJ

November 6th, 2009
2:25 pm

And may I ask why you have 3 year old in counseling?????

ZachsMom

November 6th, 2009
3:19 pm

@JJ My son has been in counseling since he was about 3 and he is 14 now. We started going when he took a steak knife out of the butcher block and started cutting his arms. As far as we knew, he had never seen anyone do that and that is when our mental health issues started.

ZachsMom

November 6th, 2009
3:22 pm

Everyday for him is a struggle. The stress on myself and his father led to the end of our marriage. When your life revolves around violent outburst, deep depression and therpy sessions, I would love to have just the regular stresses of teenagehood.

ZachsMom

November 6th, 2009
3:27 pm

The stress of have a child with mental health issues ended my marriage. Zachary’s fathers couldn’t deal with a son who wasn’t “normal”. Imagine living with daily violent outburst, mood swings crying and wondering why he isn’t like everyone else. What we couldn’t give for just the everyday stresses of “normal” teenage life.

I keep telling myself that GOD doesn’t give you more that you can handle but I think that Zachary got more than our share.

Hunter of MILF

November 6th, 2009
3:32 pm

@ZachsMom

How ya doin?

ZachsMom

November 6th, 2009
3:36 pm

I am tired. So very very tired.

Hunter of MILF

November 6th, 2009
3:41 pm

@ZachsMom

I hear ya….keep on keepin on….. remember all good things……hottie.

Hunter of MILF

November 6th, 2009
3:46 pm

@Zachsmom

And by that I mean all good things come to those who wait….LOL….

hunterofmoms@gmail.com

Becky

November 6th, 2009
3:48 pm

@ZachsMom, wow..This has to be tough to go through..Another thing that I could not imagine..I hope that I don’t upset anyone, but when I hear things like this, I count my blessings..We’ve had some rough times in my family, but thankfully most of the things weren’t ongoing..

So to all that are going through tough times with either job loss, kid troubles, pouse problems, please know that there is someone out there praying for you and keeping you in their thoughts..May all of your troubles slowly fade away..

oneofeach4me

November 6th, 2009
3:48 pm

@ZachsMom ~ I am so sorry that I sat on here and b**ched about my situation and my stress. I truely feel for you… I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it must be for you. What was he diagnosed with?

Hunter of MILF

November 6th, 2009
3:52 pm

winks @Becky

Becky

November 6th, 2009
4:02 pm

@oneofeach4me..I’m not trying to answer for Zachs Mom, but that’s part of what this blog is about..Being able to talk about things and hope that others can give you some good feedback..Sometimes I enjoy hearing “answers” to some of my problems from my blog family..

motherjanegoose

November 6th, 2009
4:52 pm

@ JJ….counseling is not just for adults, even though some could really use it, I know it helped me. The counselors are typically trained professionals who have greater insight into problems that those of us regular folks cannot resolve.
@ JATL…sorry for your loss. I would invite you out but I got blasted yesterday for trying to get together with strangers, so I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
This blog is usually a great place to bounce things off and we ar here if you need us.

FCM

November 6th, 2009
4:59 pm

@ Zach’s Mom “I keep telling myself that GOD doesn’t give you more that you can handle” I don’t buy that personally.

I think GOD does give us more than we can handle so we are forced to lean on HIM.

May you find the peace you seek in Him. I will keep you in my prayers.

JATL

November 6th, 2009
5:00 pm

@ZachsMom -I’m sure you’ve read (and are living) The Explosive Child! I’m so sorry for what you’ve had to continually go through. @JJ -this is the reason we’re in counseling. Thankfully my child has never done anything violent to himself or truly violent to others, but he’s aggressive (tending towards truly violent) to his baby brother (and it goes beyond what you see with other siblings and kids). He’s also extremely aggressive toward us and VERY explosive w/sudden rages that sometimes seem to have no lead-in. I don’t think we’re faultless with all of this, but we’ve tried EVERYTHING -positive and negative -in the discipline and reinforcement areas, and nothing really works. There is no listening -he acts like he doesn’t hear anything -and when he gets something in his head or fixated on something, he WILL NOT let it go -and this often results in extremely violent (those are violent) tantrums that last on and on and on. We’re around a lot of kids his age, and I’ve talked honestly with a lot of moms, and his behavior isn’t quite within the normal bounds even for a phase-filled kid in the “terrible threes”.

So, back @Zachsmom -again, I am sorry that you’ve had what you mentioned as a continued problem. I think someone else also asked if you ever had gotten a diagnosis about what his disorder is. I truly think we’re going to be ok, but we’ve hit a rough patch and I think a professional can help us find some workable solutions. I do understand that sometimes that isn’t the case, and you just have to work within what is going on. You’re in my thoughts! I’m also so sorry his father/your ex couldn’t handle it. You deserve some support!

fk

November 6th, 2009
7:21 pm

About 2-3 months ago, a friend was told me about a boy, 14, who, out of the blue, told his parents he needed help. He was diagnosed with OCD. His parents did not realize he was having any issues, just the “normal” teenage angst. What is “normal” these days? Since then, I’ve heard of three boys diagnosed with OCD. From what I understand, anxiety/stress is an underlying factor, and if left untreated, it can lead to violent behavior, depending on the severity of the condition. I had never heard of kids experiencing OCD, only adults, and did not realize it could trigger violence. Future topic? Or, have I already missed this one?

ZachsMom

November 6th, 2009
7:52 pm

@oneofeach4me PLEASE don’t feel bad. It is nice to know that other moms struggle also.

Seriously'~?

November 6th, 2009
9:22 pm

Oh My God. Motherjanegoose didn’t not impart any of her perfect parenting wisdom on us today. I can’t BELIEVE that she didn’t tell us all how perfect and non stressed she kept all her children. I can tell Teresa’s not here this week, she’s not desperatly trying to kiss her you-know-what.

What a nice break!!!!

deidre_NC

November 6th, 2009
10:54 pm

this whole world is stressful. kids have to hear and see too much stuff that really should be for adults only. i stopped watching the news on tv when clinton ‘didnt have sex’…my god ..my then 4 or 5 yo asked me what oral sex was!! i told her it was when people talked about sex. of course she didnt know what sex was…but geeze…it made me realize what she was taking in just listening to the news..just hearing it..not even watching it. there is too much on tv that kids really dont need to worry about yet. not to mention the million activities they are made to partake in. they dont go outside and run around and climb trees and play in the creeks…they have to stay alone too much because both parents work. kids have to grow up way too early these days.

Nicole

November 7th, 2009
3:25 pm

I am 13 but my mom just pays a lot of attention to my little sisster ever since she was born i never get a lone time with her anymore i sometimes feel left out of the family my mom and dad usualy fight a lot and she sometimes takes the stress out on me i had a hard past life and know it dosnt seem any diffrent all that i wish for is that me and my mom can get along one day i feel like she dosent even know me

motherjanegoose

November 7th, 2009
9:29 pm

@ seriously ( so glad we actually know who you are and that you are sharing something of value… excuse me the rest of you) no, I am too busy working and being paid for my advice. The group today was hoping for 125 and had over 200. They had to turn away people at the door
( who came to hear me). I am fully aware that many on this blog do not care for my opinion…so what.

WHY would I want to kiss up to Theresa? You have got to me kidding me. I do not know her personally. I simply ( unlike others) respect the fact that she is the one who decides where this blog starts most days and REALLY it does not matter if some ( like you ) give a rat’s toot what she is talking about. I try to convey this message but some posters ( like you) are too dense to realize that she has been doing this for years and does not need you and /or EVERYONE to agree with whatever she is posting. She does not even care if I agree…so what.

Sorry for the rant, those who have a clue …please ignore.

@ nicole…I never had a close relationship with my own mother…I am sad for you. Perhaps you can find other adult role models. I have oodles of friends ( imagine it) and there are those some adults out there who could help you…check in with a teacher you trust.

Mom of 3 Boys

November 8th, 2009
1:36 pm

We are going through this with our 17 year old son. Over the last two months he has suddenly been having bouts of heartburn. Then he went through a week of being really tired & had no appetite. I thought it might be mono. I took him to the doctor. The doctor said from the get go he thought it was stress & not heartburn but panic attacks. He suggested our son take a break from his sports. At first I was mad with the doctor. I didn’t like him telling our child to just stop. That is not how life works. I also didn’t believe he was stressed. I am stressed, but him?? When we got in the car I asked my son what he thought and he agreed with the doctor. I couldn’t believe it. He came out and said he felt a lot of stress with all his school work and worrying about the college process and upcoming races. He has not given up his after school activites. He said that is what he enjoys the most and didn’t want to give it up. He can’t give up school. He is a junior and this is a very important year for him which is part of the stress. So, we are working together to plan his week out better. To look ahead at the week and get a grasp at what he has on his plate. On Sunday’s we sit down together and map out his week. We have been doing this for 3 weeks now and I think it is helping. We are also looking at his diet and sleep patterns to try to make sure is getting the food & sleep he needs. It broke my heart to hear him say he was very stressed. This time of his life should be carefree, full of memories and fun!!!!! I hope together we can work to make things a bit easier and teach him ways to deal with stress. Life is stress and teens need to be taught how to deal with it. They can’t just quit because they are stressed.

Tiffany

November 8th, 2009
2:49 pm

To Mom of Three Boys: We don’t always know what our children are going through…what a blessing it is that you are now able to help him through this. Good luck to you and your son.

fk

November 8th, 2009
7:04 pm

Mom of 3: Jr. year is a very tough year. You’re fortunate that your son has confided in you. It is so important that he knows that he has your support. Good luck to all of you. You will find a workable solution, and in the process, he will learn to deal with stress in a productive way, a lesson he will carry thru life. In realizing this, he has shown just how strong and mature he already is.

My son decided that he was going to quit all three sports towards the end of his junior year. Huh? He had a job and would rather earn money than attend the grueling workouts. And, he would have more free time. It was his decision, and we thought that he would be sorry…someday. We really did not want him to quit all three sports, but it was his senior year and, like you, wanted him to have fond memories, and not recall his senior year trapped into participating in sports. Well, the first season sport coach talked him into staying, but in a different capacity. And, now in college, he’s still involved with that very sport, in the same capacity, only at college…and earned scholarship money for it. You just don’t know to where the bend in the road may lead.

It is so important that kids learn how to deal with stress before leaving home. College, or whatever the choice, is a whole new set of freedoms, challenges and responsibilities, that are exhilarating, but can be debilitating as well, especially when they realize they are the only ones who will be held accountable. The last thing we want them to think is that they are letting us down.

motherjanegoose

November 8th, 2009
10:43 pm

@ fk….great advice and I agree with you that Junior year is tough. Both of my kids have told me so.
Sometimes, life skills are also important and mapping things out with your child can give them some guidelines of what to do when they are on their own.

FCM

November 9th, 2009
11:13 am

My brother was diagnosed in the 3rd grade (this was the 80s) with stress related ulcers. Took 3 different specialists at (then) Scottish Rite to confirm.

I had them by the end of HS.

LIFE is tough. Whomever said childhood was easy is looking at it from an adult perspective with nostalgia. Just because their problem is not how to pay the mortgage, or will they have a job next week, does not make the problem less real.

IF we believe we are here to help our children gain lifeskills then we have to accept their ’small’ stress (mentioned above) are part of what hits them to prepare them for the ‘big’ stresses of adulthood. Thus we need to teach them coping skills.

Parents are AWLAYS the role models.