Stress may be associated with adults juggling a demanding job with family commitments, but it is also affecting a rising number of children and teenagers.
Professor Tanya Byron warned earlier this week that overstretched children and teens in the UK were increasingly at risk of 'executive stress burnout'.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, the psychologist and broadcaster spoke of seeing a 'significant' number of children suffering from anxiety disorders, which she ascribed to a 'highly targeted, focused, pressured' school system, as well as flaws in mental health care provision for youngsters.
"We're seeing young people who don't know how to fail," she observed.
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Parents can play a valuable role in helping children cope with the demands of modern life. If you're concerned that your own child may be overstressed, check out our expert advice for helping them stay calm and positive in the face of pressure.
Naomi Richards is a life coach who specialises in working with children. Incredible as it may sound that a child would need a life coach, Naomi reports that a sharp uptake in youngsters suffering from stress has doubled her client base in the last year.
Her advice for helping children de-stress focusses on putting their challenges and failures into perspective.
"Reassure them that their best is good enough," she says. "Remind them that we all have a unique skill set with strengths and weaknesses."
Other advice for helping young people cope under pressure includes:
- Draw on situations from real life to illustrate that a single failure needn't be catastrophic. Using your child's idols as examples can be particularly effective - Naomi offers the example of One Direction, who failed to win the X Factor but still achieved global success.
- Don't be afraid to use yourself as an example and share personal experiences about setbacks you encountered and how you recovered from them. This can really help your child put failures into perspective.
- Make sure they don't let their school timetable take over, encouraging them to see their friends, relax, pursue their hobbies and keep active.
Naomi Richards is organising the BE Conference for Girls, which takes place from 9.30am – 3.30pm on Sunday 16th November at Holborn Bars, Central London. Early bird discount tickets are available until 19th October via www.thekidscoach.org.uk.
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