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Stress and Children — How Not to “Bubble Wrap” Kids

We hear a lot these days about stress and its effect on children and teens. From all the media reports, you may have formed the impression that stress is bad for a child’s physical and mental health, that stress has reached epidemic proportions, and that you need to do everything you can to reduce the amount of stress in your life and your child’s. You may have also seen various products advertised — from supplements to special water to squeeze balls — that will decrease your child’s stress and make them healthy.

But the science says that this isn’t true. In fact, experiencing and learning how to use stress is an important part of having good mental health, and there is no evidence that any of the highly marketed stress reduction products are any more helpful than going for a brisk walk!

In other words, a child with good mental health isn’t someone who avoids or is protected from experiencing stress — but instead, someone who uses the stress they experience to learn and grow.

The website teenmentalhealth.org has prepared a document that addresses this issue in detail. It talks about the different kinds of stress, how our bodies respond to them, and how learning to cope with the daily stresses in all lives (both children’s and adults’) develops resilience and good mental health.

We encourage all parents and teens to download this document by clicking here.