Stress in kids
What’s making your child stressed?
Write down possibilities. Consider how you can help them?
It may be possible to identify personal stressors from this exercise too and perhaps you can work on them together with the child.
Try to avoid showing your own anxieties as children pick up on them.
Encourage your child to make their own decisions on how to act within limits you’ve set with them.
Talk through pros’ and cons and consequences of the choices.
Try not to pressurise to get it right first time.
Trial and error is important in developing coping skills.
There are 4 signs of stress:
Preferring what they know is safe and familiar
Unlikely to take any sort risks
May avoid something by doing something else, even something they dislike doing.
May pretend to be ill or tired
Avoids eye contact with adults
May do safe things again and again
May stay on the edge of groups
Unable to speak or do anything when they are put on the spot in some way
Goes blank when asked a question to which they know the answer
Wants to be friends
Wants to be like friends, not to stand out in the crowd
Can lead to dumbing down, as “its cooler”
Development Needs of Children
Remember there are development needs, which children need to have met. Mia Keller Pringle in the Needs of Children (1980) suggests the following:
The need for love and security
The need for new experiences
The need for praise and encouragement
The need for responsibility
If you can meet these during your time as an expatriate and look at the opportunities that are around you to do so, then you will be raising an incredible human being with an ability to be communicative, empathetic and adaptive due to the experience of living abroad.
This blog is part of an article that was one of the first featured on IamExpat Netherlands when it launched in January 2010. If you’d like to read the whole article