Cause and Effects of Stress in Children
Stress is a response to a factor or situation that negatively affects the physical, emotional, or psychological existence of a person. Stress is good in small quantities as it motivates a person making him/her more productive. However, too much stress is detrimental to a person. Stress can interfere with the general life of a person. Most people assume that stress only affects adults. However, statistics indicate that stress also affects children.
Children face intense pressure from their environment. Continuous stress in children is harmful to their activities, health, and development. There are a number of causes and effects of toxic stress in children. Stress can be caused by both negative and positive situations. Children living in abusive environments, both physical and emotional, experience stress. Arnold wrote that children who are bullied are in continuous state of depression. They, therefore, alienate themselves from their colleagues. Parents who constantly beat their children are also causes of stress. The fear that is manifested in children disorients them. They will not be able to talk about what they feel to anybody but rather keep to themselves. Events such as accidents, loss of loved ones, and rejection are also causes of stress in children.
Social change patterns in children cause many stressful situations. Children at puberty yearn for freedom. This creates tension between them and the parents, who are constantly monitoring and regulating their activities. In the same stage, children will constantly be in need of money. Lack of money causes stress in children as they are not always able to buy whatever they may need. They will compare themselves with other children who are in comfortable financial positions. Such children are always anxious and worried of where and how they will get money. Stress in children is not only caused by what happens in their own lives but also by what happens in their parents’ lives.
The greatest effects of stress are experienced by the brain. The brain controls all the stress mechanism in the body making it the primary stress organ. Johnson stated that the vulnerability of children’s brain is caused by the fact that they are constantly growing and developing. Constant stress in children disrupts brain development and compromises its normal function. Research has indicated that children experiencing stress have smaller brains. Toxic stress impairs the connection of brain circuits resulting in development of a smaller brain. Prolonged period of stress in children affects their nervous and immune system. Stress hormones are released when a child is exposed to stress. Cortisol hormones, which are released as a result of stress, suppress the body immune system. This leaves a person vulnerable to diseases and infections.
Depression, alcoholism, eating disorders, and chronic diseases are also linked to childhood stress. Psychological effects of stress include changes in personality, aggressiveness, and irritability. Children under stress are likely to experience frustrations and isolation from friends and family. They spend more time on their own and lack motivation. Children may also have difficulty in concentration thereby affecting their academic performance.
Children under extreme stress exhibit change in behavior. They may be more disobedient, fight often, stutter, and cry often.
In conclusion, stress in children has many causes and effects. The notion that stress only affects adults is wrong. Too much stress, often referred to as toxic stress, is detrimental to the life of a child. Toxic stress affects the physical, emotional, psychological, and social aspects of a child. Even though every child reacts differently under stress, it is clear that stress affects the neural system and the health of a child. Children under stress tend to develop negative characteristics like irritability and disobedience. Research has indicated that there are number of causes of childhood stress which are interrelated. Social change patterns, abusive environment, and stress in parents are just some of the cause of childhood stress.
The Causes of Stress for College Students
Stress is basically defined as an applied force or system of forces that tends to strain or deform a body. It is usually caused by something that is out of the ordinary from everyday life, things like tests, family problems and loss of job. Today students have a lot of stress because of a lot of different reasons. There are many things that cause stress for college students; school-related issues, relationships, and peer pressure.
One of the main causes of stress is adapting to the new life which we have suddenly landed in. For me it is the first time that I have lived outside the nurturing and protective security of the family unit. My parents used to provide for me materially and used to set down boundaries on how to live. This no longer applies in college and one of the first tasks that I should undertake is to find an identity and effectively test the rules that were set out by my parents. The uncertainty and lack of identity is a common cause of stress for me.
School-related issues also cause stress for students these days. It can be caused by them doing so badly in college that they gave up all hope of doing something worthwhile with their lives, or it could be caused by just not living up to their own standards. Stress also creates the way people deal with things like smoking and drinking, which are worse ways of dealing with stress. I think that these are some of the most common ways to deal with it. For example, one of my friends likes to go out and drink when he feels stressed about doing badly on a test or paper.
Another cause of college stress is relationships. Relationship stress can be caused by not living up to their partner's expectation or just plainly by breaking up with someone that they really did care for. Also, it can be caused by an individual liking someone a lot and the finding that feeling is not mutual. All of these aspects can cause students to feel like they are in way over their heads. Most students use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to relieve stress. That's why for some college students stress makes them sick and their immune system gets run down.
Moreover, the cause of the stress is peer pressure. Peer pressure is when "friends" persuade you to doing something that you do not want to do. But maybe you want to do it, and you just don't have the courage to do it and your friends talk you into it. Peer Pressure can be broken down into two areas; good peer pressure and bad peer pressure. Bad peer pressure is being coerced into doing something that you didn't want to do because your friends said that you should. Friends have a tendency to think that they know what is best for you, and if your friends are like some of ours, they always offer their opinion whether it is wanted or not. Many students are vulnerable to bad peer-pressure because they are afraid of being rejected, losing friends, being teased and they don't know how to say "NO". Some students don't think about the consequences and they can't explain why they are not interested that's why peer-pressure can cause stress.
In my opinion, to overcome stress we need to balance academic demands and the social demands of college. Socializing and being surrounded by positive people is an important aspect of overcoming stress. It helps to have real supportive people that you like a lot in your life who want you to succeed, especially during finals. There are several strategies that will help us to cope with stressful situations. First, we have to learn to manage our time wisely. Second, we have to set priorities and make the most of our opportunities as a student. Last, we have to learn to say "NO".
After all, college students have a lot of stress. There's no denying it, but college is what we make of it. If we stay focused and balance our life, we'll feel much more relaxed and healthier when it's time to wear our cap and gown. Now, that's an achievement we have earned for life!