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July 7, 2014

Kids and Stress

by Mary Jo DiLonardo

Kids can get really stressed. Blame it on school, relationships, and problems at home. Sometimes we don’t think children’s stress is serious. After all, adults are the ones worried about things like jobs and money. But a new study found that chronic stress experienced early in life can have a lasting impact on the parts of the brain that control memory, learning, and dealing with emotions.

The researchers only looked at children who had very serious stress — like poverty or some sort of abuse — but we know that any kind of lasting stress can hurt them. In short bursts, like studying for tests or playing in a big game, pressure can help kids develop coping skills. It’s the long-term worrying and anxiety that can really do lasting harm.

In this study, from University of Wisconsin-Madison, researchers point out that early-life stress can be linked to issues like depression, heart disease, cancer, and problems later on with school and jobs.

So if it looks like your kids are overwhelmed, help. Stress can lead to way too many serious problems to ignore. Here are some tips on helping the whole family de-stress. You’ll all feel much better.

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