How children cope with stress

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learn how to teach coping skills to your children

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How children cope with stress

  1. 1. How children cope with stressInfant’s copingThey have the ability to regulate stress. Coping dominated by behaviouralrather than cognitive because of capacities for executive functioning is verylimmityed paralleling the development of the frontal lobes.. Young infants will try to regulate the amount of incoming stimulation byclosing their eyes,turning their heads,falling asleep, or,if all else fails, crying loudly An infant even a few weeks old will solicit social stimulation through eye contact, smiles, and gurgling, but will turn away if too much stimulation is proffered. Certainly, infants are also able to modulate their cries in order to signal the type of distress they are experiencing such as, hunger, wetness, fright.What makes better coping? Caregiver sensitivity is basic to the development of better coping. Secure attachment with the caregiver is essential for healthy development.Types of attachment and its influences1 Secure attachment Children are confident that their caregiver will be available, responsive, and helpful should they encounter adverse or frightening situations. This security builds confidence in the child, encourages exploration and competence, and is thought to be consistent with healthy development.2 Anxious/ insecure attachment or resistant Children are uncertain that their care-giver(s) will be available, responsive, or helpful when needed. The child tends to be clingy and anxious about exploring the world and may suffer from separation- anxiety. These infants fail to move away from the attachment-figure and show little exploration. They are also highly distressed by separations and are difficult to settle after reunion.3 Avoidant attachment
  2. 2. Children expect to be rejected by their care-giver(s) when they seek support or care. Several studies indicate that avoidant attachment is associated with particular patterns of emotional and behavioral problems, such as a pattern of depression characterized by perfectionism, self-punishment, and self-criticism somatic complaints, substance abuse and conduct disorder and schizoid and avoidant personality disorders.Coping among Toddlers The infant must be able to orient to the external environment, learn to anticipate events, and represent the world symbolically. The first involves attention. Problem-focused coping strategies emerging slowly, again the capacities for executive functioning, paralleling the development of the frontal lobes is the reason. Emotion regulation also develops in early childhood, and cultural differences in the expression of emotion emerge at an early age.What makes better coping? The interactions between parents and children (particularly the early ones involving communication between mother and baby) are of crucial significance in a child’s development. What a baby needs is close, confident, and caring physical and emotional contact with the parents or carers in order to be healthy and to develop vigorously.Coping among Preschoolers Defense mechanisms such as repression, denial, and displacement can be observed in preschoolers. Parents are still the primary source of social support for preschoolers. They are also still egocentric and often unable to see others’ perspectives. Parents strongly influence the development of coping strategies in young children.What makes better coping?Parents help the children in three ways.Parents can coach their children as to the appropriate emotional responsesand coping strategies.They can also model these themselves.
  3. 3. They can create a home environment that is conducive to different types ofcoping by their own responses to children’s distress, for example, that mayencourage or discourage disclosure, avoidant behaviors, and so on.Coping in Middle Childhood During this age period, children become more able to verbalize and differentiate their feelings. Children in middle childhood are also more able to seek social support outside their immediate family. Interestingly, it is between ages of 6 and 9 that gender differences in seeking social support emerge, with girls seeking more support than boys, a pattern that continues into adulthood. In this stage more cognitively oriented attempts at emotion and problem-focused coping, including such strategies as cognitive reframing, self-talk to calm emotions, and the like are possible.What makes better coping? The family environment plays a pivotal role in children’s socialization. temperament, play an important role in children’s adaptation following exposure to stress. Characteristics of the family environment, parent behaviours, socialisation practices, and individual differences in temperament may lead to important differences in children’s cognitive appraisals, coping behaviours, and psychosocial adjustment following exposure to stressful life events.Coping in Adolescence Parents still have a large influence on coping strategies. Parental warmth was most associated with active coping in adolescents. In this stage adolescents may turn more to their friends and siblings for social support than to their parents. Some types of maladaptive coping strategies are adopted—namely, using drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes to reduce distress.What makes better coping? Unsuccessful adaptation to such stressful events can lead to adverse short- and long-term consequences, and, especially when these events occur in childhood or adolescence, they can affect social, cognitive and psychological development.
  4. 4. spending considerable amount of time with your child, todays parents spendfar less time than they could conversing andPlaying with children, teaching them important skills, and participating withthem in the routine responsibilities of everyday life.Most of the parents not turn to a child for reassurance and comfort duringtimes of distress.Some stressful events of children and adolescentsParental divorce.RejectionPovertySexual abuseMoving house and changing schoolsNatural disastersViolencePersonal or parental chronic illnessTherapists are not equivalent to parents love your children regardless oftheir behaviour. Provide a healthy and pleasant family atmosphere.Help them to develop good coping. Happy parenting!.About meMy name is Dr.K.Kumar. I am a counseling psychologist andpsychotherapist. I have received my PhD in Psychology. I have beenfounder director of CIRPE - Center for Improving Relationship andPersonal Effectiveness, Puducherry, India.Please visit for more resourceshttp://www.kumarmahi.com/http://stress-coping.blogspot.com/

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