Parents: Listen To What Your Stressed Child Has to Say

by Tanya Thomas on  April 25, 2010 at 11:30 AM Lifestyle News
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 Parents: Listen To What Your Stressed Child Has to Say
A recent study recommends that parents just listen in to what their stressed children have to say.

The Auckland University interviewed 170 children to find what causes stress for 8-12-year-olds.

And they found that stressed children wish their parents would think back to when they were young so they could remember what it's like to be ignored.

"Think when you were a child and your parents weren't listening to you and if you are ignoring your child, then that is what it is like," the New Zealand Herald quoted one kid in the study as saying.

The study found 29 main stressors for children, most of which could be broken down into family or school categories.

A third category was intrapersonal issues, such as worrying about the world and their future.

The fourth and final category was interpersonal issues- stress arising from relationships with and between other people.

Interpersonal stressors included feelings of not being able to trust friends, being left out, fear of punishment, being confused by what adults do and say and a feeling your opinion isn't important.

PhD researcher Fiona Pienaar found that the first two stress factors were connected in the sense that children who felt they couldn't trust their friends often, at some level, felt left out.

The study found that children put trust at the core of their friendship.

Children talked about the stress and the confusion resulting from friends "telling" and how, consequently, their sense of trust became compromised.

"It is stressful if you think you could trust your friends and then they go and tell people and you don't know who to trust," said one child.

Pienaar said fear of punishment was another stressful factor in children's lives but it was usually the anticipation of it, rather than the actual experience, which caused the stress.

Being confused by what adults said and did also emerged as a stress factor.

This confusion ranged from a bewilderment at adults' behaviour through to challenging what they believed was right and wrong and "how we should treat each other".

There was also confusion about what was expected of them by adults compared with what they saw happening in the world.

The study found children with a jailed parent found it "both bewildering and frightening" trying to understand why the parent chose to behave anti-socially.

While children are stressed by many things, but most of them know how to cope with their problems-whether it be by talking to their parents and pets or taking time out in their bedroom cupboard, found the study.

Source: ANI

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