What is your stress teaching your child about stress?

Stress is one of the worst things that anyone can experience. It negatively affects people both physically and mentally, resulting in symptoms like headaches, weak immune systems, lack of drive, depression, and anxiety to name a few. Because it affects so many people in so many ways and often leads to other mental health issues, it is an important issue to discuss during National Mental Health Awareness Month.

As a parent, you are probably concerned about how stress might be harming and holding back your child. But have you considered your own level of stress? Did you know that another horrible aspect of stress is the fact that it is contagious? It is frighteningly easy to spread your stress to your surrounding environment if left unbridled, namely your very own children.  

Stress, or any strong emotion, can be very contagious, triggering the same feeling in somebody else. It is especially potent as there is a greater level of intimacy between parent and child.  

This has been backed by multiple studies. Harvard researchers found in 2004 that children were likelier to develop health issues like asthma or allergies if their parents showed high levels of stress. Additional studies that support this claim were published in journals Child Development and Pediatrics in 2013. The former showed that the DNA of children who are around stressed parents in their formative years were affected permanently. The latter showed that they were less likely than other children to fully develop their language, motor, and social skills.

If you are often showing stress or anxiety regarding your child’s school grades or behavior, you pass that habit of constant worry onto your child. Adopting that, he or she will continue to stress and be able to handle or cope with any negative consequence or obstacles. As understandable as it is, if you are constantly worried about your child’s future, this shows, whether you know it or not. It shows in the frown when you see a bad grade, it shows in your voice when you suggest they go study, and it shows in the exasperated sigh you leave in the air like bad fumes. You start exerting pressure. You start feeding your child’s stress–and now everyone is stressed!

So ask yourself this: what are you doing to monitor your own stress? Before tackling stress in the people around you, you may want to consider putting that attention on yourself first. A bit of self-care and stress relief for yourself could alleviate stress for your child. Adopt meditation or yoga. Put aside one day every week for me-time. Plan a weekend getaway. Pick up a hobby.

They say you cannot pour from an empty cup, so keep yours overflowing with peace and love. Then your child will adopt that same level-headedness and excel even more in anything he or she tackles.  
A good way to make sure you and your child stress less is to enroll them in one of JEI Learning Center’s many programs. The Directors and Instructors at the centers take care of parents by working as a tag team effort with them. They step in to mentor children while the parents take a break at home. The centers also promote a Self-Learning Method that naturally eases children’s stress. Because the pacing is individualized for the students, never rushing them but challenging them just enough, they will naturally grow more confident in their abilities and take on the responsibilities of their education and lives.  

Enroll your child today and take a diagnostic assessment test to see how he or she can begin removing some of the stress from their studying habits! Find a center near you.