Monday, September 26, 2011

How Stress at Home Affects Kids

Research shows that children picks up on their parents' stress, and it affects them physically and emotionally, more than you could imagine.

"Parental stress can weaken the development of a child's brain or immune system, increasing the risk of allergies, obesity, or mental disorders," says David Code, author of "Kids Pick Up on Everything." Research shows that kids can "catch" their parents' stress, overloading their systems until they act out or exhibit mental and physical illness, he says. "Stress is highly contagious between parent and child, even if the parent is unaware of his or her own anxiety."
Neuroscientists call it attunement, and it may have to do with our ability to feel empathy. "Attunement is basically a fancy word for what we used to call the mother-infant bond, where parent and child are so attuned to each other that the child can pick up on a parent's stress and absorb it almost by osmosis," explains Code, who calls it "the mind-body connection" in his book. "It's not so much what we say or do to our kids. It's more about the 'vibe' we give off in their presence. We simply cannot fake being calm to our kids."
According to Lori Lite of Stress Free Kids, actual relaxation techniques like deep breathing, visualizing, and positive statements can be incorporated throughout your day with very little effort," she suggests. "Explain to your children that you are calming yourself down and remember to use positive statements when you are feeling frustrated. Blowing bubbles is a stress reducer and fun activity enjoyed by all ages. With a little practice, relaxation techniques will become second nature to you and your children."

Sources: Shine, David Code, Lori Lite

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