Recently around the dinner table our family was talking about the new school schedule that will soon be upon us. Many students (and parents) right now are stressed.
Maybe your stress is from your young adult starting college, or your oldest beginning pre-school, or all the challenges in between; no matter what the source of stress may be, I hope these “stress busters” can help ease your transitions.
Back to School Stress Busters:
1) Teach your children they can lower their stress…you have to believe this first :)
We do not have to be victims of high stress in our lives, and when we learn this truth we can teach it to our children.
Stress is a normal part of life in our broken world. The problem comes when children and adults don’t make time to “de-stress.” When we don’t make consistent time to de-stress it can lead to anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or a whole host of other very difficult physical, spiritual, or mental difficulties.
Very early on in the life of our children we need to teach them that stress is normal and we can lower our stress levels by doing certain things every day, the rest of this blog and the my two other blogs this month will contain very specific steps to help lower the stress levels of children and adults.
2. Name it, re-frame it, and tame it!
Once you know you got some stress we have to name it. This may sound weird and almost silly, but we need to learn the wisdom of the ancients. During Biblical times if you knew the name of somebody you had some power over that person. That is why God never reveals His name to Jacob when they wrestled in the Book of Genesis; nobody can have power over God. So, when we name our stress we have a certain power over it.
With children ages 4 to 10 that can be asking them to draw out (re-frame) what their stress or worries look like. Ask these children to name their stress as well, it could be a weird made-up name. By naming it, it will separate the stress from themselves: they are not the problem. For example, maybe your child names their stress “Franken-worry,” the next time your child is feeling stressed out, they can say “Franken-worry” is back. That is our cue to help our child get rid of Franken-worry (learn more about deep breathing here, and teaching your kids how stress works here). After a month or so of applying strategies, it is helpful to ask your child to draw their stress again. If all goes well it should be smaller and less scary.
With teenagers it might be asking them to name what they are worried about and asking them on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is highest), how high is the stress right now? You would also want to ask teens what they think they can do about it, and help them come up with solutions (the further reading below is helpful for them, too).
If stress continues and there seems to be no help from these small blogs, professional help might be the best way to go: www.aacc.net or www.family.org are two good referral websites.
Further reading: Back To School Stress Busters: Part 2, Back To School Stress Busters: Part 3