Pinpointing stress in children

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Experts say while the reasons may be different, stress can impact kids just as much as adults.

Stress is a normal part of life for many people. While balancing work, money, and home responsibilities, mental pressure can easily build. Lydia Deering, Behavioral Health Social Worker at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire says kids can feel stressed about a lot more than adults might think.

Health officials define stress as a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is the body's reaction to a challenge or demand.

Deering who works with children says it’s important for parents to understand the different ways stress can impact their children. “Everyone's stress is different so what you might think is a non-stressor for yourself can be a stressor for somebody else," said Deering. While many parents may not realize it, it turns out stress can impact a person at just about any age. Even children as young as two years-old can feel stress in their own way.

A child could be feeling stressed out and not able to put a name to the feeling but through healthy communication, parents can pinpoint these issues. "Sometimes it’s helpful to find a chart that has different words on it to show them,” said Deering.

Deering encourages parents to pay attention to their child's behavior.
This can help pinpoint if they're experiencing any stress and can provide an opportunity to help them manage it.

Deering says knowing the right questions to ask can help a child open up and sometimes simply spending quality time together can help relieve stress on both the parent and the child. Also, parents are encouraged to seek extra help if needed.