How to Help a Child Deal With Family Stress

Although many parents look back at childhood as a carefree time, many children experience stress daily. This stress could arise because of problems at home such as problems between his parents or a parent projecting his problems onto a child. Children can deal with stress in healthy or unhealthful manners, according to KidsHealth, so it is important for parents to recognize when stress is present in a child's life and to provide her with the help he needs to deal with it effectively 1.

Recognize the symptoms. If your child does not speak with you about his problems directly, you might have to look for signs that stress is bothering him. If it looks as though he is always looking to escape from the rest of the family and bickers with other family members during your time together, family stress could be bothering him, according to the University of Illinois Extension 2.

Speak with your child about how stress works. When dealing with a stressful circumstance, your child might find herself isolated and scared. Let her know that stress is a normal part of life that everyone deals with occasionally, so she does not need to feel alone, suggests PsychCentral.

Develop healthy ways of dealing with stress that your child can use. Encouraging physical activity is an effective way to help your child cope with stress 3. You can also teach your child breathing exercises and come up with other methods of relaxation that will help your child to calm down quickly.

Identify the cause of the stress. Today's children face more stress than previous generations, according to, because of high divorce rates, having two working parents and being over-scheduled throughout the day 4. While it it's impossible for parents to eliminate all of the causes of stress, identifying them makes it easier to deal with them directly.

Limit additional stressors. If family life is causing stress problems for your child, she might try to escape by watching TV or surfing the Internet for hours. This screen time, however, can bring additional stress to her life through external sources. If your child is already stressed, limiting the time that she spends in front of a screen can help, notes PsychCentral 3.


Not all children are affected by the same stressors, which is why discussing the cause of the stress with the child is critical.