How to help your child in high-stress family situations

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By Tracey Clayton,

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Children experience stress in many different ways and some of them you, as an adult, won’t be able to comprehend. Therefore, it is important to know what situations can be extremely stressful for kids and how to behave around them when something that can change their lives happens. It’s not easy to keep your cool when some of these situations deeply influence your own life as well, but kids should always come first and for their benefit, always be there for them to love them, encourage them and support them. If you’re having some troubles at the moment, the following text could help you find the best way to deal with the stress your kids are going through.

Change of school and neighborhood

Change is never easy regardless of your age. But it can be especially traumatic for kids if it involves saying goodbye to their school and friends. In that respect, prepare them for this change in advance so that they have time to properly say goodbye to everything they knew and cherished until the moment of the move comes. Let them know that you too are nervous and sorry about going to a new place and leaving the old one, so that you can help each other cope with this situation. Moreover, put some trust in them – let them choose what they’re going to bring and plan the look of their new room. Fun activities like these can ease the stress of such a big change.

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Money problems

When parents have to struggle to make ends meet each month, children can easily notice their feelings of stress. Instead of keeping your money problems a secret from your kids, tell them everything as it is. If you don’t do that, they won’t understand why you can’t afford to buy them something. On the other hand, if you do the money talk, you can include your kids in your savings plan. Kids love to help their parents and feel useful, and your whole family can benefit from children’s ideas on where to cut costs.
New addition to the family
Some children are overjoyed when they get a sibling, but some experience the feeling of frustration due to their fear of losing the love of their parents. Basically, kids can get jealous if you neglect their needs and feelings in favor of the baby. While undoubtedly you’ll have a lot of work to do involving your newborn child, remember that your older kids still need your full attention and try to comply with their wishes as often as possible. Also, allow them to help you with the baby and household chores in any way they can.
This can definitely turn out to be one of the most stressful situations that any kid has to go through. Parents and their proper behavior are essential in this case, in order to provide the kids with all the love they need. When parents divorce, kids can often blame themselves. Therefore, it’s important to face them straight on and treat them with respect. Tell them everything they want to know. Explain them all the steps of filing for divorce if you think their better knowledge of the situation could help. Most importantly, stop fighting with your partner in front of the kids. You two should act normal in front of them and assure them that your unconditional love is still there to shower them with. Stay true to your usual rules and simply treat your (ex) partner as the other parent of your child, not as your ex-spouse.
Illness or death of a family member
Having someone in your family fall ill, or losing someone is a very serious, sad and difficult thing to go through. With everyone around them suffering, children can really withdraw and become socially and emotionally distant. So don’t treat your kids as if they were completely unable to understand what is going on. Sheltering and protecting them, indulging in their every need is not going to spare them any pain and it definitely won’t make them strong. Allow your kids their right to know what being seriously ill means and to grieve like anybody else if the worst happens.
As you might have already realized from examples above, it’s essential to be open with your kids about everything that’s going on and talk to them freely. They might not be able to understand all your words but they will understand the feelings that you put in these talks. Instead of overprotecting them, there has to be a balance between loving care and trusting in your child’s own abilities to cope.
About author:
Tracey Clayton is a full time mom of three girls. She loves cooking, baking, sewing, spending quality time with her daughters and she’s passionate for writing. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”


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