The lives of kids are viewed as happy, stress-free and carefree. After all, they have no bills to pay or work demands to meet like adults so they should have a smooth ride in life is a popular point of thought. But the fact is that the little ones also worry perhaps more than parents think or expect.
American Psychological Association report found out children between 8 to 17 worry about excelling in school, joining great colleges and their family finances. As a result they develop headaches, sleeplessness and upset stomachs. However, their parents hardly associate their symptoms with stress.
In the report, one in three children in a given month complained of headaches and only 13% of parents associated that to stress. Furthermore, 44% of children also experienced sleeplessness and only 13% of parents thought their children may have difficulties with sleep.
Another report by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) showed 1 in every 6 U.S. children of ages 2–8 years had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.
Are the Kids alright?
It is time to acknowledge kids need mental health support. Mental disorders can be described as serious changes in the way children learn, behave or deal with emotions that causes them distress getting through the day.
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth edition (DSM-5), is what the Healthcare Personnel use as foundation to diagnose the mental state of children.
The common mental disorders among children are: deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and behavior disorders. The disorders are many here A Comprehensive list of Mental Disorders , with details on prevention, symptoms and treatment.
According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 9.4% of children aged 2-17 years (approximately 6.1 million) are ADHD diagnosed. Further, those of 3-17 years 7.4% (approximately 4.5 million) have a behavior problem diagnosis, 7.1% of them (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety and 3.2% (approximately 1.9 million) have diagnosed depression.
Signs of Mental Disorders in Children
Parents should watch out for the following behavioral or emotional changes in their children:
1. Difficulty or reduced concentration
2. Too much clinging, moody, temperamental and aggression
3. Withdrawal from family and friends
4. Habits such as nail biting when nervous
5. Excess fears: dark, strangers, being alone
6. Trouble making at school and refusal to attend school
Children may show physical signs such as:
- Appetite may increase or decrease
- Headaches and stomach upsets
- Bed wetting
- Nightmares and sleep problems
Common Causes of Childhood Stress
1. Family Changes- Divorce, Separation or death of a family member
2. Financial instability- kids often have sympathy and want to help parents in the event they realize their parents are having financial problems.
3. Over scheduled – being involved in activities all day leaving no break to rest, play or have fun
4. High academic expectations by schools and parents
5. Peer pressure
6. Being bullied
7. Disturbing pictures on news or social media they see
8. A scary movie or a book they read
How to Help Your Child
- Monitor what your children watch on Television, what video games they play and what they engage with on social media for older kids
- Create an approachable environment that they can talk to you about anything and everything.
- Talk to them about any changes and explain to them why the changes had to be made also seek their opinion where need be
- Instill positivity in them by complimenting their exemplary efforts to foster high self-esteem in them
- Support their talents and motivate them to pursue their talents and gifts
When to see a Doctor
Time to See The Doctor when your child’s mental health seems not to improve or growing worse.