Some stressful events include:
- During early childhood, getting adjusted to the new environment of school and separation from parents can be stressful. Adverse childhood experiences such as psychological, physical, or sexual abuse; or living with individuals who were substance abusers can have severe effects on both physical and mental health.
- In later childhood, making friends, engaging in competitive exercise and continuous evaluation of competence creates significant stress in children. Difficulty experienced in keeping up with academic work and extracurricular activities in school can be also stressful.
- During adolescence, in addition to physical changes and hormonal changes due to puberty, children often experience strain of peer relationship and social interaction. Adolescents feel anxious and stressed about their self-image and identity.
Regarding differences in stressful events,
- Yes, significant stressors vary with age as each stage throughout life poses a different problem or challenge as proposed by various developmental theorists. Therefore, there are different kinds of stressful situations at different ages.
- No, stressful experiences were similar during different ages as the typical physiological and psychological response to stress remains stable throughout life even though stressors may differ.
Ways of coping with stress include:
- Problem focused strategies which focus on altering the problem situation.
- Emotion focused strategies involving management of emotions related to the problem.
Regarding coping methods at different ages,
- Yes, coping strategies differ with age as younger children are unable to deal with their emotions effectively as compared to adolescents or adults. They resort to problem-focused strategies involving decision making and systematic problem solving.
- No, coping strategies are similar across ages as children are taught both, basic problem-solving and emotion-focused coping by parents and teachers to solve day-to-day conflicts or issues which do not involve advanced cognition.
Regarding the effectiveness of coping methods,
- Coping methods can be successful in reducing stress when they are used effectively according to the situations being dealt with. Problem focused strategies are used when the individual has some control over the situation while emotion focused strategies are employed when there is no perceived control over the stressor. At times, both can be used given the demands of the situation.
- Coping methods cannot be successful when the individual fails to recognize the needs or demands of the situation and responds ineffectively. Failure to understand or process the nature of the problem and possible alternatives can lead to significant amounts of stress.
One can cope with stress in the following ways:
- Mindful meditation
- Progressive relaxation
- Meeting friends
- Taking a walk or engaging in any other physical activity.
- Seeking help from a mental health professional.
Sources of stress which are common:
- Unexpected changes
- Pressure of deadlines
- Overwhelming responsibilities
- Uncontrollability in situations
- Not enough stimulation or cognitive overload
- Health concerns
Sources of stress which are unique:
- Traumatic events
- Racial and sex discrimnation
- Poor mental health
- Past experiences and unprocessed emotions
- Social media pressure
- Education and finances
Regarding coping methods from classmates,
- Yes, coping methods that might be useful as they include seeking support from friends and mental health professionals, participating in group activities and sports and finding time to process emotions and difficulties.
- No, there are coping methods which are not useful like ones that involve distraction and repression of problems for time being which is not effective in the long run.