5 Reasons Why Parents Need to Stop Protecting Their Kids From Stress
Sometimes we act overprotective to keep our children away from any stress and disappointment. However, a recent study shows that lying about real emotions can actually do more harm than good. Precisely, this can affect kids’ behavior both in the short and long term.
We at Bright Side always aim to improve our parenting skills and in this article, we’ll try to explain what happens when you try to protect your children from stress.
1. They won’t be prepared to deal with stress on their own.
A psychologist shared her clinical experience after working with patients in their 20s and 30s whose main problem was not being happy. They all talked about their perfect parents and childhood, and the psychologist had trouble understanding the reasoning behind their feelings.
However, she eventually understood that the root of their problem was that their parents were always trying to shield them from the stress of daily life, leaving them unprepared to deal with it once they were on their own. What seemed like a lack of happiness for them was just regular life with all its little stresses and disappointments, like bad bosses, imperfect jobs, and more.
2. They will hide their stress too.
Children, as specialists believe, tend to model their parents’ behavior, even when it comes down to how they deal with stress. If you always tell your kid that everything is going to be alright, like with work, home issues, relationships, and more — even when you’re in trouble or don’t feel that good yourself — they’ll assume they should act the same way. This means that they will learn that hiding stress is normal and they need to do it in order to conform.
Hiding your emotions and suppressing stress may lead to some health problems as well as worsen relations with your loved ones.
3. You can’t protect them from all the stress in the world, but you can teach them to cope.
Your kid is most likely already aware of how stress can impact their life. According to a study, teens report higher levels of stress than adults during the school year. So it's simply impossible to keep a kid away from all the stresses and difficulties of life. Instead, you should try to teach them to be stress-savvy.
Help your kid to better understand what causes stress for them and how they can minimize the effects of it, like headaches and stomachaches, by relaxing or doing special breathing exercises. Also, create a stress-free zone, depending on what the kid likes more, whether it be with art, music, or games.
4. Certain stress is necessary for childhood development.
Not all stress is considered bad. Of course, every parent should keep their kids away from chronic stress that can be caused by abuse, neglect, etc. However, there's also acute stress, which is a healthy reaction to different situations like games, competitions, and tests — and it completely resolves after a short time. Research showed that such stress is beneficial for brain development, social skills, behavior, and even intelligence.
5. It can make them more anxious.
Psychologists think that when you shield your children from serious stress or anxiety caused by things like a parent’s family problems, a loss of a job, or an illness, you actually worsen their anxiety. It happens because children tend to assume the worst-case scenario. Like, as specialists say, seeing themselves as the cause of events or being afraid of abandonment.
Instead, you should help them by providing age-appropriate information. Talk to your kid, explain the situation, and make them feel more aware of what's happening around them.
How do you help your kid deal with stress?