Stress part of life for parents and children

Children flourish when they know they are loved and cared for, says Mark Thiessen, School District 27 superintendent.

  • Oct. 9, 2013 10:00 a.m.

Children flourish when they know they are loved and cared for, feel they belong and are approved of, and know they can succeed, says Mark Thiessen, School District 27 superintendent.

“Parents play a key role in helping a child flourish, a role that involves protecting the child from experiencing too much stress for too long,” Thiessen.

In efforts to help parents and their children adapt to a new and changing school year, Thiessen provides the following information about stress that has been adapted from the Psychology Foundation of Canada.

Things to know:

• Stress is part of life.

Stress is a normal human response to daily hassles and challenges, and a certain amount of it actually helps us feel alert, energized and interested in life.

• Coping with stress is essential to survival.

We all need to learn how to cope with stress in order to survive and thrive in the world. How we learn to cope with stress in childhood influences our capacity for resilience and effective stress management throughout our lives.

• Stress is hard to hide.

A child may show signs of stress with their body (headaches, stomachaches, sleep problems, illness), their mind (poor concentration, forgetfulness, difficulty problem solving), their emotions (fear, anxiety, frustration, sadness, anger, oversensitivity), and their behaviours (nail-biting, daydreaming, fighting with others, being overly cautious, bullying, having difficulty calming down).

• Too much stress for too long — without support from a caring adult to mediate the impact — can affect a child’s developing brain and immune system, and cause problems with learning, memory and self- regulation.

This is especially true when the stress is related to unhappy or difficult experiences that are beyond a child’s control, such as ongoing conflict between yourself and them, a serious illness or death in the family, or unrealistic expectations or demands placed upon them, or that they place upon themselves.

– Adapted from the Psychology Foundation of Canada