Stress is something that people experience everyday, and is an unavoidable aspect of life. It is a response to a situation or factor that creates a negative emotional or physical change or a combination of both. Previous experience, education, and support help most people respond appropriately to stress and to change as the circumstances require. What about children? Can children get stressed as well? The answer is yes.
Read more... (Childhood Stress)
Read more... (Stress and the Developing Brain)
Read more... (Negative Effects of Stress)
Onset of Depression is Occurring Earlier in Life than Before
Not only adults become depressed. Children and teenagers also may have depressive disorders such as major depressive disorder (unipolar depression), dysthymic disorder (chronic, mild depression), and bipolar disorder (manic-depression). All of these disorders can affect the adjustment and functioning of the individual. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) states that about five percent of children and adolescents in the general population suffer from depression at any given point in time. Research has suggested that the onset of depression is occurring earlier in life than before.
Child neglect is not the same as child abuse, although sometimes
both abuse and neglect happen to a child. Neglect means that a
child does not get enough care and nurturing such as physical
care/protection, affection, approval, sympathy, companionship,
stimulation/teaching, or appropriate supervision/discipline.
For those of us who were not neglected, it is hard to imagine what childhood would have been like if we didn't know someone loved or worried about us.
Traumatic Experiences in Childhood
Eight-year-old Jamie was playing with her friends outside when she witnessed a bad car accident. She saw and heard things most children never see and hear: injured bodies, agonized pleas for help, police and ambulance sirens, and pain cries. Car parts came flying across the street and some landed on Jaime's feet. A neighbor heard the unusual noises outside, went out, and got the children inside. Jaime wanted her mother and was further upset by the neighbor pulling her inside when she wanted to run home instead. By the time Jamie got home, she didn't know how to calm herself down.
In the past several years, our society has called upon the foster care system to do much more than temporarily provide food and shelter for children whose parents cannot. Now foster families are routinely asked to care for physically and emotionally neglected children. Neglect occurs when a child's physical (food/shelter) and/or psychological (dependability, trust, warmth, loving) needs have not been met over a long period of time. The experience of neglect has the power to change the way a child sees him or herself, others and the world. Because neglected children have never had a protective, safe, and loving home, they tend not to trust the world to be accepting and kind or responsive to their feelings and needs.
Helping Children Cope after Loss
Losing loved ones is unfortunately, part of life. Just as we want to help and support our children through the normal and expectable challenges of growing up, we are also called upon to help them through times of grief. This difficult process is often made even more complicated and challenging when the adults are grieving too. It's often hard to know what to do.