Resources For Families and Educators

Children and Stress

Children and Stress in NYC Children and Stress in NYC

The stress response in children represents an opportunity to teach healthy, adaptive coping strategies. Responding to stress is different than reacting to it. A stress reaction is when a child encounters a combination of internal and external stressors that trigger stressful reactions. The latter is usually automatic and based on habits of the past. A response, such as a mindful one, is a healthy proactive positive approach and alternative to reacting.

In young children this stress reaction can be a "melt down," a tantrum, or emotional dysregulation. In middle school aged or teenage children, it presents as sadness, anger, depression, and certainly anxiety. The automatic habit-based stress reactions are less healthy and we know this from a physiological perspective as studies have proved the effect stress reactions have on the heart, the brain, the circulatory system, pain management, etc.

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