Friday, September 30, 2011

Discipline or De-Stress?

My colleague, Michele Borba who regularly gives advice on the TODAY SHOW, wrote on her blog, "This week the American Psychological Association (APA) released troubling survey results about our kids. The Stress in America, 2009 survey was of 1206 young people ages eight to seventeen as well as 1568 adults. It was conducted this summer by Harris Interactive. The report, building on past research, revealed that stress is a top health concern for American teens between 9th and 12th grade.

Among key findings: parents underestimated the level of their kids stress. Translation: Our kids are much more stressed than we think. (I say, Yikes!)

  • 31% of parents say their child has little or no stress vs. 9% of kids report little or no stress
  • Tweens (30 percent) and teens (42 percent) say they get headaches vs. 13 percent of parents
  • Tweens (39 percent) and teens (49 percent) cite difficulty sleeping vs. 13 percent of parents
  • Tweens (27 percent) and teens (39 percent) report eating too much or too little vs. 8 percent of parents

What's more, tweens and teens were far more likely than their parents to report that their stress levels had increased in the last year."

Thanks Michele. To piggy-back on her post, I want to alert you that kids will act out stress through sleep disturbance, aggressive, infantile or regressive behaviors like bed-wetting and thumb-sucking. The frequency and intensity of these behaviors, suggest the stress intensity.

In daily discipline -- look behind a child's behavior. Could it be he needs destressed rather than disciplined? How can you calm the environment, create structure where there is none, sweeten your response, be available for counsel, inject humor, or model how to cope with stress? Often kids don't need more discipline, they need destressed.

Hey, remember to get your hour of empowerment on
The Parent's Plate internet radio show with me, your host. I'm on live every Tuesday morning at 10 am (EST) but if you must miss a live show, click on "Recent Shows" in the right column to hear any topic of interest.

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