A Big Lottery Fund commissioned survey has revealed shocking statistics, which paint a damning picture of the state of mind of our kids. 58% of them feel stressed or worried at least once a week, while one in six say they feel stressed daily, with almost half of kids losing sleep through stress, whilst more than one in ten are so worried they can’t eat.
It makes it all the more difficult to admit that the stress of the parents’ is being dumped on their kids like never before. Exams and tests are the most common source of worry for kids, while family issues aren’t far behind with kids being kept awake at night worrying about their parents arguing, splitting up or losing their jobs.
Once upon a time all our kids had to worry about was getting back home in time for tea. Now-a-days parents don’t let their children out of their sight. If they aren’t in touching distance, they are in visible distance. Our kids no longer benefit from the space and freedoms, which earlier generations took for granted, and as a consequence, our kids are clearly suffering.
How kids feel about themselves is paramount to what kind of parents they become. Experiencing stress at such an early age affects their self-esteem and confidence, without teaching them to understand their anger as a natural feeling; they will become victims of their own stress and ultimately go on to lead a life of unfulfilled potential.
What the kids and parents may not appreciate is that stress is a direct response to anger
Perhaps it is this, which the survey is missing. Our kids are becoming more and more angry due to the pressures and strains, which are placed upon them on a daily basis by parents and teachers. If adults didn’t create stressful learning environments, curriculums and schedules for kids in the first place to match their own skewed view of how life should be, there would be no need for stressed out kids.
Is it any wonder?
Conform, study and achieve A grades. Don’t do that but do this. Go here but not there. Say this but not that. Eat this but not that. Dress like this but not like that. The kids are telling us things are not fair or right. Our kids are being dumped upon by parents and teachers and the kids are fighting back. They are getting angry and as a consequence they are getting stressed because they aren’t expressing their anger healthily. Stress affecting kids can have negative impact on behaviour.
Remember kids just wanna have fun!
Here are 6 stress-busting tips for kids:
1. Hey Teacher leave us kids alone.
According to the kids, the answer to the fact that 57% of kids fret about tests and exams is to stop setting so many tests and exams. Perhaps the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, will be advised to take note. Putting pressure on our kids to be perfect is unrealistic and self-defeating. Stress over their classroom assignments can lead to a loss of confidence and focus, which can last a lifetime. Be patient with kids and let them work at their pace. Build self-confidence in children; don’t beat it out of them.
2. Calm your mind and find your own solutions.
At those times of stress, stop, take a deep breathe and think of the bigger picture. Calm your mind and refocus. You are in charge. The best decision is your gut decision, so don’t ignore it.
3. Praise improvement, not just good grades.
It’s the journey, not the destination that really matters! The best way to relieve the pressure of achieving academic success is by praising your child’s hard work along the way.
4. Make sure you are heard.
Parents must listen to their kids if they ever want to hear what their kids are trying to say. Parents vent their anger as much as their kids. When your child comes to you and wants to talk, listen. Reserve your criticism, and simply let him or her speak. More often than not, the kids know the answer but only need a sounding board to confirm they’ve made the right decision.
5. Set up a routine and stick to it.
Preparation, organisation, application. A organised operation will always reduce stress levels. When everything is going to plan, you can work to your full potential, be it in the classroom at school, as a parent, or in the office. Children and parents know what needs to be done and how to do it, so make time for yourself and with the minimum of distractions you can concentrate on getting the job done.
6. Ask for help!
Don’t suffer in silence. A problem shared is a problem halved. If you are feeling stressed about school, ask for help. Both parents and teachers love kids and want to do the best for them. Take advantage of the help available. The kids must enjoy their childhoods, not dread it.
Mike Fisher and The British Association of Anger Management (BAAM)
If you are feeling stressed and angry, check out what Mike Fisher from BAAM can do for you. As Europe’s leading Anger Management Guru, he’s better placed than anyone to offer you the right advice and to point you in the right direction.