Monday, June 20, 2011

Kids' Big Worries

Which one of the following situations do you think would cause your child more stress; the threat of nuclear war, or giving a report in class?

Most children probably would choose the second because they tend to focus on immediate, concrete concerns. A study at the University of Colorado shows that a child’s #1 fear is losing a parent or eyesight. Next on the list is being held back in school, wetting in class, being accused of lying or stealing, or being sent to the principal’s office. Far down on the list are events that parents might have guessed; having an operation or adjusting to a new baby in the family.

Worries change as children grow. Preschooler worries include toilet training accidents, starting school, being separated from their parents, sharing and cooperating, discipline and not being understood when they speak0

Elementary-age children worry about pressure to perform academically and conform to rules, being excluded, not being listened to, being teased or embarrassed, getting angry or jealous, teachers getting angry, getting a bad report card, and not having the right kind of clothing or school gear.

Adolescents worry about changes in their body, peer pressure to use drugs or become sexually active, and feeling self-conscious.

Children need to feel they have a sense of control and that they can solve their own problems. Parents can take an active role in teaching children problem-solving skills by sharing with their child how they make everyday decisions themselves, and by allowing children to solve small problems on their own.

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