Kids today no longer live the kind of privileged lives that we used to live as kids. This, I am absolutely sure of…. if there’s nothing else in this world that I am confident about. Kids live such stressed lifestyles now that I feel that it’s not even worth being a kid anymore and in fact, I’d rather be an adult, if I had a choice. Kids between the ages babies to 4 years old and during the preadolescent ages are the most susceptible to stress and stressful situations.
First off, let’s examine the kind of life that the stressed kids live each day, I believe, in most of our societies.
There’s school, there’s tuition (Math, English, Art, Science…etc), and then there’s tuition (swimming, drama, mandarin, French, Japanese, Spanish, dance, tennis), and then there’s also homework (which most working adults no longer have)……and some parents even give their kids more homework at home at their own accord, as if the homework given by schoolteachers are not enough. Blagh!
Looking at the kind of schedule that kids have these days, it’s not hard to imagine why they’re so stressed out! Wouldn’t you be too, if you were a kid? The moment the kid sits down to watch TV or to play a simple game on Playstation, the parents starts shooting off about how they are wasting their time and not doing or learning anything worthwhile. In the meantime, mom still gets to go for her facials and dad still continues to channel-surf on the TV, apparently oblivious to the things happening in his home.
Yes, we are living in a very competitive world. Yes, we want the best for our kids. Yes, we want them to be the best that they can be. And yes, every experience should be a learning experience. But what about being a kid? Isn’t being a kid part of the ‘experience’ of living as well? Don’t stress your kid out like that! They need some personal space and time to de-stress themselves or…spend some time being what they are…. kids.
When in stressful situations, kids have the fight or flight feeling Remember the time when you were asked to carry out the presentation when your colleague suddenly called in sick in the office? Remember the first time you performed on stage, storytelling, singing or choir performance? Remember them? Didn’t you feel like you wanted to bolt from the situation because as a kid, you were feeling stressed out?
That’s the kind of feeling that your kid is feeling when you put him or her under too much pressure. Let’s face it, they don’t have to be perfect – and like you, they have the right to be who they are as naturally as possible. And you’re the only one who can help them do that.
Identify their natural talent; uncover and nurture it Instead of forcing them to take tuition after tuition, lesson after lesson and do things that they don’t like doing at all, why not spend some time with each of our kids each day, talking with them and discovering their inner self. When we sit down with our kids, we will discover what they like to do and we can uncover some hidden talents. For instance, I talk with my kids before bedtime and we spend about a good 10 minutes just yakking and talking about the day’s events.
One night, my elder son, Joshua told me that he liked to draw. I said, “Yeah, it’s kind of fun to use all those colors and mix them up together and see what we can come up with, isn’t it?” to which Joshua replies, “But mom, I don’t like to use colors. I don’t like to PAINT, I like to DRAW”.
I didn’t think there was much difference until his art teacher told me that Joshua prefers to draw cartoon figures and sketches. He doesn’t quite like to spend his time coloring any of his paintings, although he does it.
Just from the boding process itself, I discovered Joshua had this natural aptitude for sketching and drawing. And I swear I’ll do anything to help him shine in that area, as long as he remains focused. I won’t put pressure on him to excel, and if he thinks he wants to take this a step further later on his life, he has my blessings.
Give them due credit and listen to their problems and concerns We know all this already, don’t we? It’s pure simple logic! But yet, we tend to listen more to adults than our own kids because we naturally and sometimes subconsciously think and believe that we know better and we’re in a better position to make the decisions for them. When kids confide in you and tell you about their concerns, take the matter seriously. It may seem trivial to us but it’s very important to them. So, take their concerns to heart. Listen hard and listen well and don’t interrupt when they are on the roll. Sometimes, your kids may just want you to listen to them talk and voice their opinions out, instead of looking for advice or helping them solve their problems. When you listen to your kids talk and take their concerns seriously, you’re actually helping them de-stress themselves.
Helping our kids plan and expect stress When you know your kid is going to be in a stressful situation, teach them how to anticipate it, plan for it, get ready for it, face it and then learn something from it. Stress is not always a bad thing, even for a kid but like they say, too much of anything is not a good thing. So, help your kids handle stress better and stop giving them more stress…. like they don’t already have enough stress in their lives already!
Marsha Maung is a freelance graphic designer and copy writer who works rom her home in Selangor, Malaysia. She loves nothing than blowing bubbles in the park with her 2 kids, Joshua and Jared and considers getting her hair yanked while playing horsey an absolute privilege. She is the author of “Raising little magicians", and the popular “The Lance in freelancing". More information can be found at http://www.marshamaung.com