These days we can see an unprecedented level of student stress. Between school expectations, numerous extracurricular activities, peer pressure, and social stress, students of all ages are feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and just all-out stressed. And just as stress is hard on adults, causing both physical and emotional symptoms, it’s equally as hard on children who may not have yet developed any positive coping mechanisms. If you notice your child exhibiting signs of student stress, try these three quick tips.
1. Practice Positivity
Positive communications elevate the spirit; they offer encouragement and support. They send the message that the other person is capable of handling challenges. Positivity creates hope and prompts feelings of being valued, supported, and respected. Because being positive is so enabling, it makes sense to stop all thoughts and communications that are negative. Therefore, become conscious of phrasing your communications with your children so they will be in positive terms. Continually ask yourself: “How can I communicate this message in a positive way?” For example, saying, “Don’t fail your test,” is disabling, and prompts the image of failing because the word “don’t” is not visualized; what comes after the “don’t” is what the brain visualizes. “You can succeed at this,” prompts the picture you want, is enabling, and is much more effective at reducing student stress.
2. Offer Choices
Stress makes people resist doing the things they need to do. Rather than force children to complete an activity, offer them choices and then watch how quickly their resistance weakens. By giving the young person some degree of control via the choices, you will get more cooperation. There is a simple reason for this: People do not argue with their own decisions. Offering choices is a simple approach you can use to immediately reduce resistance and student stress.
3. Encourage Reflection
When you ask reflective questions, you prompt the child to think, reconsider, change their minds, and grow. Reflective questions are non-coercive. They reduce stress because they guide rather than force. Reflective questions elicit a thinking response and are framed to fit the situation and clarify. Here are some examples:
- “What can you do to accomplish this task?”
- “How can you correct this situation?”
- “What would you do differently next time?”
Say Good-Bye to Student Stress
When you implement these strategies, you will become more effective in your parenting and your children will experience less stress. And remember, these tips work for adults too! So keep practicing them. You and your children will reap the benefits of doing so.
Do you see elevated signs of student stress? What steps have been taking to help youth alleviate the stress they are feeling? Please share your experiences on the Without Stress Facebook page.