Do you ever wonder what might be causing your child stress? Well, there are lots of common things that can cause your child stress. On the surface most of us realize stress is caused by things like family, jobs, friends, or school. However, there are four things that may on the surface appear invisible but cause our children a great degree of stress.
Hidden Things Causing Your Child Stress
1. Materialism –
Children are just like adults. Just as most adults often feel compelled to keep up with the Joneses, children feel the same need. Our children want to keep up with Mr. & Mrs. Jones’ children.
Adults have become Madison Avenue’s puppets and children are Madison Avenue’s miniature puppets. From the perceived need to dress like Kim Kardashian to incorrectly believing that they must have the most current edition of LeBron James shoes, many children are unknowingly setting themselves up to become victims of the dreaded materialism panic attack.
Often times having learned this behavior from their parents, children are mistakenly being led to believe that what one wears on the outside is a critical indicator about one’s internal value.
2. Attainment –
Another reason children stress is because they are anxious about being a success. America, after all, is the land of opportunity and opportunity is supposed to breed success for any and all who live here. Right?
Being successful in America has almost become exclusively synonymous with the ability to drive the latest model luxury car, living in a palatial estate, rubbing elbows daily with the rich and famous, wearing only designer clothes and eating and drinking only the highest quality foods and spirits. These images of material possession bombard our children so much that many begin to feel like success is a birthright. The unwritten motto becomes “I live in America so I should have nothing but success”.
Most adults know that this motto is flawed realizing that opportunity and results are not a guarantee. Moreover, most parents realize that unlike the beliefs our children have we are not entitled to anything. However, the anxiety builds in our children as images of perceived success are displayed everywhere.
Regrettably, there are few signs and images that display for our children that anyone can have success but that success rarely if ever occurs without hard work. Hard work that is most commonly associated with great personal sacrifice, blood, sweat, tears, time and a little bit of luck.
3. Impatience –
We live in a microwave society. As such everything that doesn’t happen immediately is like cooking food in a slow cooker. It takes too long. Don’t believe me. Ask a hungry child to wait for you to cook dinner and see how they respond. Wait to eat are you kidding? Where is the nearest fast food restaurant?
Our children stress because they do not know what it means to be patient. They do not understand that life is more like a marathon than a sprint. They don’t realize that life is more like preparing food in a slow cooker than it is putting something in the microwave. They don’t understand that whatever goals or objectives they may have are only going to manifest themselves through a well-defined process.
Perhaps as their parents, we need to introduce them to the types of processes we use at work like S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Maybe if our children knew S.M.A.R.T. they would no longer fail to understand if it (accomplishments and success) was quick and easy like microwave and fast food everyone would be at the same place and they would feel exactly the way they feel now…not special, not exceptional, not accomplished, simply the same as everyone else.
4. Lack of Direction –
This fourth stressor might be the most obscure of all the stressors. While it is true that children have a formalized K-12 educational system, children are being taught more about the facts necessary to pass a test than how to think so that they can advance themselves and society. Our rote learning methodology is robbing children of their natural inquisitive disposition and eliminating the kind of creativeness required to advance our society.
Society has always progressed when people knew how and were not afraid to dream. Dreaming is brought to life when we are allowed to be inquisitive and creative. Individually and collectively, we have our greatest personal growth and historical societal gains when inquisitiveness and creativeness are truly valued and supremely nurtured.
Our children know how to want things, know how to be fixated on stuff and some but not nearly enough even know how to pass tests. What they don’t know and what they have little direction about is how to dream – dreaming about how to make their childhood aspirations a reality and about ways to make the world a better place than it was when they arrived.
We have done an insufficient job of cultivating their inquisitiveness and creativity to such an extent that when our children are confronted with one roadblock, many of them are ready to quit.
Our children need direction that shows them how to navigate around, over, under, or through roadblocks and pitfalls and training that reminds them that impossible is nothing!
Previously Published on The RS Project