parenting

Signs & Solutions for Childhood Stress

Youth of all ages, but especially younger children, often find it hard to recognize and discuss what’s bothering them. As is often the case, just like with adults, changes in behavior may provide the cues that they’re overwhelmed. Common behavior changes in children and teens can include acting irritable or moody, withdrawing from activities that they usually enjoy, routinely expressing worry about a situation, complaining (more than usual) about school, getting tearful or fearful more easily than usual, or eating and sleeping more or less than they usually do. With teens, spending more time with their friends is normal and healthy. Be attuned to some more overt changes though – like significant parental avoidance, increased isolation, abandoning long-time friendships for new peer groups or expressing hostility towards basic family rules or towards certain family members. While resistance, striving for autonomy, seeking more independence and some of the normal “acting out” we often see with teens is to be expected, negative and sustained changes in behavior is almost always a clear indication that something is wrong.