School: New stressors
Our teens will experience stress many times in their lives. Short-term stressful situations are part of the normal course of life: they are natural and generally useful. But there is also stress that paralyzes the child, pressures him, and does not allow them to live and develop.
- Excessive demands when the program does not correspond to the child’s abilities.
- Stressful tactics of pedagogical influence. The too-fast pace of work, hurtful nicknames and mockery; reprimanding a child in front of the whole class can become a childhood trauma.
- Inadequate pedagogical methods.
- Problems with the organization of the learning process. If a child has to reread what they were taught in class, if they don’t understand how to do the homework – then the lessons at school are ineffective.
- Conflicts. Unfortunately, some conflicts last not for a couple of days, but much longer. They become chronic and turn into the factors of toxic anxiety.
- Lack of psychological support in school. Teachers and parents may lack sensitivity to notice that the child does not cope with stress. There always must be a school psychologist.
A few words about emotional abuse
It is a special stress factor that a child can face at home, at school, and even on the street. That is not only threats and insults, not only fear of punishment but everything that destroys the friendly environment around the child. That is adults’ shifted eyebrows or their tense silence.
The quiet threatening prophecy: “You’ll never be able to write the best essays”. The indifferent tone, the frightening facial expression: “I look at him, he immediately begins to obey, and he starts to be afraid of me”.
Emotional violence cannot strengthen the child or make him stronger. It deprives him or her of a feeling of safety and the possibility of making a mistake without serious consequences. More often than not, adults do hurt children emotionally because they are simply tired and on the verge of emotional burnout.
A teacher is a profession with a high risk of burnout, so parents should take a closer look at the teacher’s well-being if the child clearly “brings” traces of severe stress from school. Being in a stressful situation for most of the week poses a threat to the mental and physical health of the child.
If you notice that the teacher treats children aloof, indifferent, and cold – try not to stir up conflict, but protect the child. If it is not possible to establish contact with the teacher and soften the pressure, for the sake of the child it is better to change the school.
Develop the stress-resistance of the students:
It is worth remembering: the brain does best what it does most often. It is in our power to train a child’s brain for success, for an even alternation of tension and rest, a calm attitude toward difficulties and a keen search for solutions.
Here are tips from an adolescent psychologist
- Maintain, support, cultivate a favourable, calm, friendly atmosphere in the family. In difficult situations there is no need to panic, you should remember that “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”
- Try to communicate regularly, talk to the child about topics related to his or her experiences, feelings and emotions. Be sure to discuss the near and distant future. Try to build (but not impose) prospects together. Share your experiences, thoughts, suggest how to write a paper in an hour if needed. Sympathize, tell him that you understand how difficult it is for him now. Children who feel support and sincere sympathy from parents cope with stress more successfully.
- Teach the child to express emotions in socially acceptable forms (aggression – through active sports, physical activity that can be done at home or outdoors; emotional distress – through a trusting conversation with relatives that brings relief). It is often difficult for a child (especially a teenager) to talk about experiences. Suggest that the child have a notebook. By putting their emotions on paper, they will feel relieved to be free of possible negative thoughts.
- Encourage the child to be physically active. Stress is, first of all, a physical reaction of the body. Any activity which requires physical effort will help the child to struggle effectively with it. It can be house cleaning, physical exercises, singing, dancing etc. Try not to force the child to spend energy on something that is not interesting. Determine together what kind of active activity they would like to do while at home.
- Support and encourage your child’s creative handiwork (drawing, weaving “braids”, working for cheap writing services, glueing models). Even if it seems to you that the teenager does nothing useful. All this is a kind of “discharge”. Through the work, the teenager gets distracted from negative experiences and everyday problems.
- Encourage the child to take care of neighbours (elderly people, younger children, pets). Pleasant duties, feeling that someone depends on them is an additional resource for coping with possible stress.
- Maintain family traditions and rituals. It is important that a good family tradition is interesting, useful and loved by all generations of the family. So that the youth enjoy participating in them and do not perceive them as an unavoidable, boring, useless pastime.
- Try to support the child’s daily routine (sleep, eating habits). Give the child more often the opportunity to get joy, satisfaction from everyday pleasures (a tasty meal, taking a relaxing bath, talking to friends on the phone, etc.).