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Stress Management 101

Are you feeling stressed? If you agree that kids learn by watching their parents, you might take another look at how your family manages stress. According to the “Stress in America” report released in 2009 by the American Psychological Association (APA), 26 percent of kids ages 8-12 say their stress level has risen during the last year, while 42 percent of adults surveyed also reported rising stress.

Psychologists agree that without learning healthy ways to manage stress, kids could face serious long-term health problems. But before you start stressing about your children’s stress, start with these tips provided by the APA on how to talk to your kids about stress:

Open-Ear Policy: Notice when your kids open up and give them your undivided attention. Express interest, even if your child talks about something you might disagree with.

Share Opinions With Care: If you appear angry or defensive, your child will tune out your message. Keep your cool and acknowledge that it’s OK to disagree. Don’t argue about who’s right or wrong; simply say, “This is what I think ….”
Give Kids the Facts: Parents might think it’s best to shield children from news, like unemployment or an illness, that might cause added anxiety or stress, but without age-appropriate facts, kids are likely to dream up the worst-case scenario.