When adults experience the strain of a stressful situation, most are able to use that pressure as motivation to solve any problems. For children and young teenagers, this isn’t always possible. The younger generation has to climb heaps of day-to-day challenges at school which often leads to stress overload. If a child or teen can no longer cope, he or she can develop serious health issues.
Signs and Symptoms to Watch For
Because many young people hide their feelings as if they’re protecting buried treasure, you may be unaware that your son or daughter is distressed. This is why it’s important to tune into the behavioral or physical cues associated with school-related stress. Once you recognize the signs, you can provide support and guidance to help your child work through the difficulties.
A school-age child experiencing stress may show subtle or obvious physical symptoms. The most common indications include frequent headaches, stomachaches and muscle pain. Stress can also cause restlessness, fatigue or eating disorders. A more inconspicuous and serious sign that your child is feeling crushed under the fist of stress is cutting or any other form of self-injury.
Other red flags to look for include:
- Irritability or angry outbursts
- Expressions of fear or hopelessness
- Lack of focus
- Sadness or moodiness
- Social withdrawal
- Clinginess to parents
- Alcohol, drug or tobacco use
Possible Long-term Effects of Stress
High-pressure conditions don’t just create short-term health problems for students. Persistent stress can have a major impact on the long-term wellness of your child. When the brain detects a stress factor, hormones are released and physical reactions are triggered. As a result, the body’s normal processes become disrupted, which can raise the risk of developing chronic illnesses.
Children and teenagers who are continually overwhelmed by school stresses may have an increased risk of heart disease. Stress elevates the blood pressure as well, and chronic cases can cause long-lasting hypertension. Prolonged stress can also lead to unhealthy weight gain, constant muscular pain, anxiety disorders, digestive issues, severe depression and concentration impairments.
Seeking Professional Help
School-associated demands can turn even the most sweet-natured child into a stranger. If you send your Dr. Jekyll off to school and Mr. Hyde returns home at the end of the day, it may be time to contact an expert. A professional evaluation will determine if your child’s stresses are likely to create long-term health issues. Physicians and psychologists can provide coping strategies for the child as well.
In addition to seeking advice from an authority, there are many other ways to help your teenager or young child manage the stresses of a school environment. Students of all ages worry about meeting high expectations, and this concern can be manifested in emotional or physical disorders. By observing behaviors and paying attention to warning signs, you may be able to prevent unnecessary health problems for your child in the future.