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Stress No More: A parent’s guide on how to not produce anxiety ridden children

Monday, April 20th, 2009 by Dr. Dahlia Mann, Ph.D.

When Max started kindergarten, he began to have trouble falling asleep at night. He often complained that his stomach hurt during the day. His parents attributed his behavior to irritability. But in fact, Max was showing the classic symptoms of stress.

A five year old exhibiting stress? The idea runs counter to the popular conception of kindergarten as a time of fun and games. But in fact, children today do experience stress at a very early age.

Why so much stress? Think about it from a child’s perspective. Children today are carefully taught not to talk to strangers and about “good touching” and “bad touching.” A child’s activities is often organized on an hourly calendar because “it’s not safe” to simply send children out to play. Parents are even uncomfortable letting children walk around the block unsupervised.

This alone would tend to create stress in children who, by nature, clamor for freedom. But along with a loss of freedom comes a barrage of upsetting information. Children at an early age begin hearing about and seeing world disasters as they are instantly beamed into the home. Worse, parents often have no time to process their own anxiety to decide what is appropriate to tell children.

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Dr. Dahlia Mann, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and marriage and family therapist in New Jersey. She is a solution focused therapist working with individuals, couples and families. They work together developing options to solve problems such as stopping the fighting fighting with better communication, coping with "after the affair," dealing with stress and anxiety, parenting issues and mid and late life transitions. For more information, please visit her listing on the Therapist Directory.