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4 Tips to Know if Kids are Stressed or Overwhelmed

Welcome to Tea & Tips, where we respond to burning questions from parents and educators — taking aim on one topic at a time, guiding you to improve communication, confidence and calm.

Diane:
So underneath a lot of challenges that we're facing with our kids is what I would call overwhelming stress. But a lot of times it doesn't look like overwhelming stress.

Elaine:
Sometimes it looks like anger or frustration.

Diane:
Frustration or hiding in their room. There are really four things that we all tend to do when we get overwhelmed or stressed, and so it's important as parents that we think about what might be going on. So the four things are:

  • Control-- taking over and taking control
  • Distracting -- doing something else because of feeling anxious or out of control
  • Isolation -- hanging out in their room and staying by themselves, lots of time on videos
  • Pleasing -- doing whatever someone else asks because they don't know what they want

Elaine:
All of these are indicators that a child might be stressed or overwhelmed. Those behaviors are going to show up in a lot of different ways -- towards us and towards their friends and towards each other. Beginning to recognize them helps you understand if something else is going on, something that looks like anger or annoyance or isolation or video obsession, but may be that underlying it is something that your child is experiencing where they made need some help.

Diane:
And so I almost want to say every time before you do anything else, if you see a behavior in your child that you are not loving, to start by saying, “Is it possible that my child is triggered? Is it possible that my child is stressed? Is it possible that my child is overwhelmed? And what are the things that I might look for first to figure that out?”

 

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