5 ways in which your stress impacts your child.

Spending time together over the holiday period can be very stressful. According to statistics 62% of people found that they would describe their stress levels as ‘very or somewhat’ elevated over the holiday period. Perhaps because we are trying to make the holidays as perfect as they can be, without thinking instead about spending quality time together. In fact, the media tells us that divorce rates are elevated during January as couples are looking for a fresh start after spending so much time together over the holidays. Whatever the statistics, elevated stress levels can cause real heartache and it’s not just felt by adults, it can also impact our children.

Stress lady screaming
Many people are beginning to realise the affect that stress has on our lives.

I have experienced periods of high stress; I think we all have and it’s not fun! That feeling of not coping is awful and can make us ill with real physical symptoms. However, what we often don’t think about is how this stress can also impact our children. I was shocked to read how fear and anxiety can affect young children and how our stress can make children feel.
Here are the 5 ways in that stress may negatively impact your child:
1. Stress makes us very distracted. It consumes every part of us and then it is difficult to concentrate on anything else. This leads to us not spending time with our children. Children need time, we all know this. Neglecting children is one of the most harmful things for child development.
2. Stress can make us overreact. I have done this. It feels like the end of the world that your child spills their drink but we end up overreacting to a very normal part of everyday life.
3. Stress can make us do things for our children that they are quite capable of doing for themselves. I see this often actually in my job as a teacher. The parent who needs to get to work and so will rush in with their child’s things because it takes too long for their own child to put away their things. In these situations you end up over managing your children. Children need to learn independence; it’s vital for self-confidence.
4. In stressful situations, we like to talk things through. I have seen friends talking to their children about their marital problems. I just don’t think this is appropriate. I do not believe that children and teenagers should be included in things that they really do not understand or have any experience of. Stress can involve your children in what should be an adult conversation and it’s unfair to expect them to fully understand or make a judgement.
5. Lastly, your stress can make your child feel guilty or stressed themselves. They will think that the reason you are shouting is due to their behaviour or about that spilt drink when actually the reason you are cross is due to your stress.

So what can we do to manage stress in our lives?
I have recently begun to practise Mindfulness and it has really helped me to engage with how I am feeling and how this affects me in different ways. Mindfulness is a mind and body approach to life that helps us relate to what is happening on a daily basis. It helps us to pay attention to our feelings so that we can make better choices to engage in difficult situations. It has also helped me focus on what I have rather than always striving for what I haven’t got! I will blog about what I actually do in later posts.
If you are feeling stressed with your life, I urge you to look up and take note of how this may be affecting your family. I’m not talking about the one-off shout about wet towels on the floor by the way! I’m talking about if stress is making you feel cross, sad or numb most of the time and you know deep down that your children are being affected. Mindfulness may be able to help you.

I’m not being paid to promote mindfulness. I just love it so much that I want to pass on the love to all of your lovely people.❤
I have recently written a guest post for Hayley over at Mission mindfulness blog about Yoga for children which you may find interesting. You can read about it here

 


 J

Mission Mindfulness
My Random Musings
Pink Pear Bear
3 Little Buttons

44 Comments

  • I am totally for mindfulness cause that’s the only way to get a balance and rhythm in everyday living..and yes, I write about my experiences with my kids and my current post is somewhere related to what u wrote..

  • It is true that our stresses affect our children in many ways. In fact, they can even make children themselves feel stressful, and in this way the stresses fuel each other. Practising mindfulness is a great way of reducing stress, but it is also important to recognise the symptoms of stress when they occur and do what we can to avoid reacting to situations in stressful ways. The advice you give here is good, Sophie, and I look forward to reading about the implementation of your de-stressing techniques.

  • Every thing we are and everything we do impacts on our children (even when they are grown and flown it still applies at some level) and stress is the mother of so many bad habits. Practicing mindfulness properly was my New Year Promise and so far I can honestly say that it is transforming to not be so haphazard with the process but rather to incorporate it into my fabric daily. I do think that health services should recommend it. An advertising campaign perhaps because the stress is not going anywhere but up in modern life so we must find ways to combat it or really risk our children

    • Exactly Osyth. It’s very much been embraced in schools in the U.K. which is a great start. But it’s a knee jerk reaction I’m afraid to the declining mental health of our children. I mean I’m glad Mindfulness is here in the classroom but I just wish the root cause of our children’s anxiety -the exams and results culture -would be addressed. I will Happy when I see a child centred educational system but I think it’s a long way, if at all. I have recently been on a Yoga for children course which was amazing. As always, you comments are so supportive, thank you.

  • There is certainly food for thought here. Some stats that have been published aren’t very accurate though. I work for a family law firm and this week the media has been full of ‘divorce week’ rubbish. None of it is true. Divorce figures are no higher in January than they are any other time of the year, it’s a shame that people are led to believe that this is the case. But then I suppose it’s whatever sells a story. I hope you have a stress free year and your kids too. #Blogstravaganza

    • Ah that’s interesting. Well it just shows you that not everything is true. Thanks for commenting. X

  • Number 4 is the one I least understand. I talk things through with my kids but only the stuff that they need to know, like the importance of taking a shower and I do let them know if I’m a little short in my paycheck so they can’t get the game or book they want. I don’t lie to them. They also know that if I can’t get something for them right then and there, they will get it eventually. It helps to teach them patience, which seems harder to come by these days. However, talking to them about my love life or something really personal like that is something I’ve seen many parents do with their children and that is inappropriate. Children don’t need to be involved in such matters. I am also careful about talking about being stressed over bills around them but I can also understand if children happen to over hear parents talking about it. Children hear more than we realize. They pay closer attention to us than we think they do, even when it seems they are being distracted by TV or a toy. This is a very thought provoking post because I have seen too many parents not pay attention to the stress they unwittingly cause their kids and I hope this helps parents realize it:)

    • Thank you so much for your thoughts and comments. It’s very kind of you to pop over to my blog. You sound like a lovely parent. Xx

    • Oh hello Michelle from Rockinrandommum! I wasn’t wearing my glasses and I didn’t recognise the name!

  • I am trying to be more mindful and i have been in several of those examples – feeling awful afterwards #thesatsesh

  • This is such an important post. Stress is truly awful and needs to be spoken about more, talking is educating and can help so much! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

    • You are right Zoe. Thank you for commenting. X

  • I am very aware that I am susceptible to 2 and 3 if I’m not careful – as you say mindfulness has really helped me be aware of these moments when I could be ‘passing my stress on’ and how to manage my own stress so that this doesn’t happen so much. In terms of teaching – I am really worried that stressed teachers – who are worried about not getting through the new GCSE curriculum and/or are worried about the new number system (not having a CLUE how it is going to play out in Aug) are passing this stress on to the Y11s – I worry this year group are getting lots of stress passed to them by proxy…. Some things I hear make me thing this is happening….it can be a problem in schools, not just in homes. We need to get our teachers being mindful too! xx #thesatsesh

    • Absolutely Hayley! My teens are in Year 13 and 11 so double stress this year! Funnily enough I think it’s me that’s feeling it more! They are a little too relaxed for my liking……mindfulness is a big part of our school but you are right that all teachers need it. Xx

  • It’s a natural protective instinct to protect your children from the stress of life. But I do think it is important to share issues with them gently so adulthood doesn’t hit them like a brick. I guess it can be a fine balance x #anythinggoes

    • I think you are right! Thanks for commenting. Xx

  • There are great thoughts there. We’ve started to look at things with a clearer mind recently, and it’s made all the difference.

      • I feel very conscious of all of the above. I feel also that we make ourselves more stressed in a futile attempt to pretend ‘everything is ok ‘. I am tweeting this as it needs to be shared x #bigpinklink

  • All of these are so true. I’m the mum who flaps in nursery and takes my little boys bag and helps him with his coat. My husband overly helps him with his clothes too just to save time and he can do it himself!
    #anythinggoes

  • Thanks, this is a good wake up call and a good reminder to me that I need to get back to practising Mindfulness!! #BigPinkLink

  • #2 has been a problem here. My wife and I are going through a very rough patch right now and tempers are short. Its something that I try to be very cognizant of, but its tricky. Thanks for the reminder #anythinggoes

    • Oh I’m sorry to hear that, Jeremy. I hope things get easier. x

  • This is a great post, I am so aware that my stress and anxiety is contagious. I always try to explain it to my children though, ‘Mummy is worried about something at work and it’s making her grumpy and cross and I’m sorry, but it’s not you’. No idea if that is the right thing to do or not though! Thanks for linking up with us this week. #bigpinklink

  • It really is good to be reminded of these things: if we are not mindful we can, and do, bring our stresses to bear on our kids, or more specifically on how we interact with them. It is so important to try and separate what we are feeling from how we are reacting. Its amazing how we can do this at work, or outside, but not so with our own nearest and dearest

    • That is so true. Thank you for your insightful comment and reading my post. 😃

  • Hi, dress can have a big impact on us as an individual and often we do not really realise the impact it can have until sometime it is to late. It is really important that you highlight the impact this can have on children as well. It may be not paying full attention to them or being abrupt as an example but this can affect them in a variety of ways. Do thank you for prompting gtown ups in thinking about their behaviour even though it is not intentional #DreamTeam

  • Oh yes, I totally agree. Especially about overreacting about the little things because of something else stressing you out. It’s so easily done. Practicing mindfulness is a great idea. We did a mindfulness course at work and it worked wonders on everyone’s moods. Thanks for joining us for the #DreamTeam xx

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