Causes and Help for Combatting Stress in Your Child

stressed kidsHere are some of the causes of stress, the impact of stress on the body, how to know if your child is stressed and a few unique ideas for combating stress. Only you, the parent, can help your child combat their stress.

Some of the Causes of Stress

Children certainly feel stress and anxiety. Many children are actually more sensitive to things being out of balance than are adults. Over-scheduling, working parents, social media and peer pressure, combined with a general lack of exercise are only some of the causes of this stress. High consumption of white sugar, white flour products and other refined foods also stress the body. If your child is eating foods to which they are sensitive, this also increases the stress levels in their body.

The Impact of Stress on Children

Witness the domino effect. High stress = weakened adrenal glands = increased cortisol levels = high inflammation in the body = increased reactions to food, all of which result in harm to the intestinal lining. In high-stress situations, it may only take a few foods to create a symptom.
Older children with multiple food sensitivities or allergies (over 30) often have weakened adrenal glands. The adrenal glands produce hormones such as cortisone and epinephrine, which help to prevent or decrease the intensity of reactions to food.

Stress shuts down the digestive system in order to prepare the body for fight or flight. If this happens enough, it can lead to a decrease in stomach acid and digestive enzymes. Subsequently, the digestive system begins to receive less blood, oxygen, and nutrition, which then weakens the immune system. This results in an increased risk of infection and illness in general.

How Can You Tell If Your Child Is Stressed

If your child is irritable, impatient, wakes up in the night and can’t fall back asleep or craves salt, he or she may not be handling stress very well. Kids can also have depression, difficulty concentrating, behavioural problems, lack of motivation, recurring fatigue or total exhaustion, anemia, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, malabsorption, blue circles under eyes (not bags so much), food cravings (i.e. salt), or a low body temperature as a result of stress or being born to stressed out parents! Inadequate adrenal gland function can be inherited from a child’s parents, especially if it was the mother that was over stressed or had a poor diet.

Help For Stress

Two of the best approaches for fixing the adrenals (stress glands) in children involve sleep and nutrition:

  • Put your child to bed the same time every night and let him or her awake the same time each morning.
  • Stress depletes our bodies of vitamins and minerals and often when any of us are stressed out, we don’t want to accept the nourishment from food. The way we eat our food and often our food choices themselves, create indigestion.

Foods rich in vitamins and minerals or supplements are key in battling stress. Vitamin C directly supports the production of stress hormones (adrenal glands have higher content of vitamin C than any other organ). Vitamin B is referred to as the “stress” vitamin as it makes such a difference to a child undergoing stress. The need for protein also increases during stress.

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Until next time,

Meredith

 

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