What are signs that my child is stressed?

Blanca Orellana, PhD
Stress is the way our bodies and minds react to a particular challenge or situation. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress, you can help your child learn to manage his or her responses in a healthier way. Signs of stress in your child may include:
  • irritability and moodiness
  • anxiety and panic attacks
  • muscle tension
  • rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • difficulty separating from caregivers
  • frequent headaches and stomach pains
  • sadness and withdrawal
  • sleep problems
  • school problems
  • changes in eating patterns
This content originally appeared online at UCLA Health.
Michele Borba

Tune into your child to look for signs of stress. Start by observing your child a bit closer when a frightening event occurs. For instance:

  • Is your child afraid to be left alone or of being in dark or closed places?
  • Does he have difficulty concentrating or is he excessively irritable?
  • Does she react fearfully to sudden noses, revert to immature behavior patterns, act out or have tantrums, or nightmares?
  • Is he bedwetting, withdrawing, crying excessively, or a experiencing a change in eating or sleeping habits?

Each child copes differently, so tune into your child’s behavior. Doing so will help you recognize how your son or daughter deals with life’s pressures and know when you should help to reduce those worries.

Late-breaking news without an adult present to explain is a worry inducer especially for middle school children.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.