No bills, no job, no deadlines. What do kids have to worry about? In Singapore, the answer is: a lot. But how do you know if your kid is buckling under the pressure?
“Don’t stress lah!” is not something that is easy to do in our society. And it’s not just happening to adults. Unfortunately in children, stress tends to have a greater impact as they are less equipped to deal with it. The 2016 suicide of a 10 year old due to the stress of examinations was a wake-up call for many Singaporean parents, highlighting the exam stress our children are facing.
But stress for Singaporean kids does not stop here. There is also stress at home, peer pressure, excelling at extra-curricular activities, getting into the “right” school and course and juggling a half-dozen different tuition and enrichment programs. As parents, are we being too kiasu and contributing to our kids’ stress? Do we know how to spot the worrying spots of burnout? We look at three common signs of stress in kids and how best to address them:
1. Extreme Mood Swings
If your child was once a happy trooper but is now more withdrawn or prone to bouts of aggression, restlessness or even crying spells, alarm bells should be ringing.
What to do: constantly reassure your child, do not set unrealistic expectations and always be open to listening to them, no matter what they tell you. It’s important for your child to know they can turn to you if they need a shoulder to cry on.
2. Changes in Behaviour
Don’t write off constant temper tantrums as mere disobedience. They could be signs that your child is stressed. A coping mechanism for many children under stress is the release of negative energy — be it via shouting matches with you, or playing truant from school.
Tip: your child’s stress may manifest physically as well, perhaps in bad habits such as picking their nails, or minor illness such as regular headaches.
What to do: help your child burn off excess energy and de-stress. Make sure your child gets enough time to relax. Try going for a family walk or cycle around your estate — it’s a great way to bond and is good for both mind and body.
3. Difficulty Sleeping and Changes in Eating Patterns
When a child is under pressure, restlessness and worry interrupts sleeping habits. In addition, a sudden change in eating habits could be another sign of stress. So if your child has stopped asking for your gooey kueh lapis, there may be an underlying reason.
What to do: understanding the root of anxiety, often with the help of a child psychologist or counsellor, can help alleviate these problems. Also, try establishing regular meal and bed times for your children and lead by example. Having regular family meals is a great way of bonding and allows you to monitor your child’s eating.
Plan ahead for your kids, and give them more options in education and in life. Find out how Prudential can help you here.
The information in this article does not necessarily reflect the views of Prudential Assurance Company Singapore Pte. Ltd. Certain information in this article may be taken from external sources, which we consider reliable. We do not represent that this information is accurate or complete and should not be relied upon as such.
This article is for your information only and does not consider your specific investment objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you seek advice from a Prudential Singapore Financial Consultant before making a commitment to purchase a policy.