Stress affecting kids like never before

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. Desperately Sad 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,...

Readers Digest Article – 1001 Things To Know, Anger

  In most cases, counting to ten really does work. A brief pause gives us just enough time to regain a sense of proportion, remember not to take things personally or even (gulp!) acknowledge that we’re not always right. But for some people, it’s not enough. “Most of the clients I have are successful business people who use anger to intimidate others,” says Mike Fisher of the British Association of Anger Management. “Eventually it gets out of hand, and colleagues and family tell them they have to change. “Around 20 per cent of my clients, by contrast, are angry because they’re not successful—but feel they should be. They often internalise their anger and become depressed.” So it’s not just the victims of our rage who suffer: feeling constantly angry is bad for us too. One in five relationships breaks down because of problems with anger; angry men are three times likelier to have heart disease than those who are rarely riled. To reduce anger levels, Fisher suggests monitoring stress and prioritising our own needs when we feel under pressure. “It’s not selfish, it’s self-preservation,” he says. Avoid using aggressive language— swearing for sure—but also blaming others, interrupting and shouting. “Instead of ‘why don’t you/you never/you should’, say ‘I feel hurt or angry’,” says Fisher.   “It’s important to admit how you feel, so don’t pretend everything’s fine when it’s not. And if that’s not enough, walk away before you do something you’ll...

Young People and Anger

As society in general gets more and more angry with the world around them, it’s inevitable that their children will follow suit. Its commonly acknowledged that children are products of their upbringing and if anyone is to blame for their children’s behaviour, more often than not, you can point the finger at their parents. But is it really fair? Aren’t we all in the same boat, doing what we can to survive this ride we call life? Haven’t the parents got enough to deal with, as much as their children? Too many questions maybe, but questions worth asking. What makes young people angry? And can we as parents help them find peace with the world and peace with their inner emotions and feelings? In my book the answer will always be, yes we can! What makes young people angry? It’s the same for children and adults alike, but just in a different context. Jealously, rejection, anxiety, pressure and stress are felt by children as much as their parents. Children express their anger and stress in exactly the same way too. Adults and children alike shout, throw tantrums, smash things, throw things, hit things and hurt things. The things are also the same across the age spectrum, be it their toys, themselves or their loved ones. It can be argued that children get a worse deal than adults because children’s worries are dismissed without hesitation. We’ve all heard of the ‘Children must be seen and not heard’ rule of a more stricter age, and children are shouted down as a matter of routine. Stop it, shut up, don’t be so...

Angry Couples

When the opportunity came to attend one of Mike Fisher’s British Association of Anger Management (BAAM) weekend courses, I grabbed it with both hands. I’ll be totally honest with you. I’ve been in a relationship for eleven years now and since having kids, its fair to say that I’ve been angry everyday since. Don’t get me wrong, I love my partner and I love our kids. As is the case in many relationships, its not an issue of love, sex or attraction, but rather how couples react to anger and disappointment, which dictates whether they live in joyful bliss or abstract misery. We get on like a house-on-fire when the kids are at school. When its peaceful and quiet, we love each other as friends should, but come breakfast, lunch, dinner, bath time and bed time, we’re stressed out and getting angrier by the minute; and more often than not, we end up bickering like brother and sister. And that is exactly what Mike Fisher touches upon during his course. He got us to think of the last time we were at boiling point, and then stopped us and asked how old we were feeling at that precise moment. We all confessed to feeling as if we were kids again. Seven years old being shouted at by mum, feeling ashamed and scared, nine years old and having a fight with our sister or ten years old and on the verge of tears while dad shouts in your face over a minor misdemeanour. Its true, we all revert back to being kids when we get angry with each other; we...

Anger in Prison

Two pieces of news this week got me thinking about anger in UK prisons. Number one follows comments from the director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer QC, who says its time to make benefit cheats serve longer jail terms of up to 10 years. The second follows a Commons Justice committee reports that says more elderly sex offenders are being jailed than ever before. Two pieces of news that make me wonder what effect it’ll have on the well-being of all prisoners in the system. Will an influx of elderly perverts tip the balance or will an increase in swindlers break the camels back and push the UK prison population into the red mist? After-all, convicted criminals aren’t exactly known for their gentle dispositions and tolerant natures. Being deprived of your freedom is punishment enough, but prisoners must also deal with the constant supervision and control of their movements and interactions. Locked behind bars for up to twenty-three hours a day, left to stew over their own failings and stupidity, is enough to make anyone angry. Angry at themselves, the world, the system, their parents and God Almighty. In fact, prison is the perfect place for anger to grow and prosper.   Controlling Anger in Prisons. Anger management programmes have enjoyed a varying degree of success in UK prisons. At one point in 2006 the Home Office significantly scaled back their anger management courses citing them to be “counter-productive,’ after a City financier was killed by a prisoner who had just been released from prison after serving six years for attempted murder. He attended twenty-four sessions of an anger...

Make Stress Your Friend, Not Your Enemy

Mike Fisher, Europe’s foremost Guru on Anger and Stress sent me a link to a video the other day which has opened my eyes to the way I see stress. For too long I’ve been looking for methods and techniques which will beat my stress into submission. I’ve been told that chronic stress is bad for my health, that it leads to insomnia, high blood pressure and depression, amongst many more symptoms I could mention. If ever I feel my anger rising, I’ve been taught to relax and count to ten, ‘Imagine yourself on a desert island with the warm surf lapping at your feet’, a stress expert would recite on youtube as he beckons the audience to close their eyes and feel the stress recede. And then along comes a pretty lady who blows it all away. Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal is seen delivering a TED Global sponsored talk to a packed audience in Edinburgh. After opening with her fear that she’s been teaching a method of beating stress over the last ten years, which “has been doing more harm than good,” she lays it on the line, “I’ve changed my mind about stress, and today I want to change yours.” She cites scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who have shown that the ‘perception’ of stress effects health. Hence, thinking that stress is bad for you makes it bad for you. For example if someone is making a life style choice between a stressful job and a not so stressful job, it doesn’t matter which way they go. It is in fact equally wise to choose the...
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