Helping Your Kids Stress Less! Geoffrey Bones School Psychologist CRMS 10/21/2008 Topics 1. Signs of Stress 2. Healthy Stress V. Unhealthy Stress 3. Helping kids deal with stress. 4. How do parents know if they need additional support? 5. Where do I go for help? 1. Signs of Stress: Terminology Stress: Physical, mental, or emotional strain. Stressor: An event, situation, or demand that causes stress. Acute Stress: Stress associated with a temporary stressor. Chronic Stress: Stress associated with an ongoing stressor. 1. Signs of Stress: What do Middle school Students find stressful? Top 5 stressors on the first day of school (Carney, 2007): 1. What happens if I get lost? 2. What if I can’t get my locker open? 3. What if the work is too hard? 4. What if I don’t have anyone to sit with at lunch? 5. What if I’m bullied or harassed by older kids? 1. Signs of Stress: Dealing with Stress. Both Acute and Chronic stress impairs our ability to deal with other stressors 1. Major life changes or transitions 2. Traumatic events 3. Parental pressure 4. Peer pressure 5. Being overscheduled 6. Family dysfunction 1. Signs of Stress: Physiological and Psychological Acute Stress: 1. Increased heart rate, perspiration, respiration 2. Muscle tension Chronic Stress: 1. Gastro-intestinal problems 2. Headaches 3. Impairment of immune system 4. Distractibility 5. Irritability 6. Symptoms of Depression and/or Anxiety: 2. Healthy Stress V. Unhealthy Stress 1. Eustress (Healthy) – stress that result from healthy endeavors. 2. Distress (Unhealthy) – stress that results from adversity or hardship. 2. Healthy V. Unhealthy: What determines The difference between experiences which result in eustress or distress is determined by: 1. The nature of the event. 2. Real ability to cope with the stress. 3. Our perception of our ability to cope. 2. Healthy V. Unhealthy: What determines Stress is a normal part of adolescence. Learning to cope developmental. Successful coping builds confidence and competence (Brown et al., 2006). Schools and parents need to work together to help students learn how to cope with stress, and avoiding stress altogether. 3. Helping kids deal with stress. Just C.H.I.L.L. ! Connect with your kids. Help kids process stressful events. Identify stressful events, triggers, and associated feelings. Loosen-up through relaxation. Limit anxiety through preparation. 3. Helping kids deal with stress. Connect with your kids Kids who feel stronger connections to their parents feel more secure, have more confidence, and feel more competent (Donaldson, et al., 1999). Share interests that build your relationship. Talk about stress in your life and modeling healthy coping. Engage in activities that combat stress together. 3. Helping kids deal with stress. Help kids process stressful events Validate their feelings. Understand their perspective. Analyze stressful events together. 3. Helping kids deal with stress. Identify Stressful Events Understand how stress feels. How do we as individuals react to stress? What sources of stress do we have in our lives? Identify situations that tend to make us feel stressed. Keeping a stress journal. 3. Helping kids deal with stress. Learn to Relax Cognitive restructuring Mental Imagery Positive Self-talk Breathing relaxation Muscle Relaxation Identify healthy stress “Busters” such as exercise. 3. Helping kids deal with stress. Limit Anxiety through Preparation Organization – Physical materials – Thoughts Time management – Daily Plans – Mind Maps – Rest! Rest! Rest! Develop problem solving strategies – Break down large assignments into smaller parts – Coach ways of approaching new problems 4. How do I know when I should Pursue outside help? If your child has a generally elevated level of anxiety, or is experiencing depression. If stress leads to school avoidance. If your child has recently experienced trauma. If your child continues to struggle with stressors despite previous efforts to teach ways of coping. If your child’s difficulties with stress prevent them from trying new things and/or enjoying life. If you feel unequipped to help. 5. Where do I go for help? Teachers & Learning Specialists School Counseling Departments Pittsford Youth Services Web-Sites – http://www.focusas.com/Stress.html – http://www.teentouch.org/coping_stress.asp Books – Fighting Invisible Tigers: A Stress Management Guide for Teens. Earl Hipp – Stress Management for Adolescents: A Cognitive-Behavioral Program. Diane de Anda – Too Stressed To Think?: A Teen Guide To Staying Sane When Life Makes You Crazy. Annie Fox Bibliography Brown, S., Teufel, J., Birch& D., Kancherla. (2006). Gender, age, and behavior differences in early adolescent worry. Journal of School Health, 76, 430-437. Carney, S. (2007) Top Stressors for Middle School. http://youthdevelopment.suite101.com De Anda, D. (1998).The evaluation of a stress management program for middle school adolescents. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 15, 73- 85. Donaldson,D., Prinstein, M., Danovsky, M. & Spirito, A. (1999). Patterns of children’s coping with life stress: Implications for clinicians. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 70, 351-359. Valentiner, D., Holahan, C. & Moos, R. (1994). Social support, appraisals of event controllability, and coping: An integrative model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 1094-1102. Page, R.M. & Page, T.S. Fostering Emotional Well-Being in the Classroom. 3rd Edition.
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