4 Ways to Know When Kids are Stressed or Overwhelmed

What do you do when kids are stressed or overwhelmed?

So underneath a lot of challenges that we're facing with our kids is what I would call overwhelming stress. But a lot of times it doesn't look like overwhelming stress.

Sometimes it looks like anger or frustration.

Frustration or hiding in their room. There are really four things that we all tend to do – even kids – when we get overwhelmed or stressed, and so it's important as parents that we think about what might be going on. So the four things are:

  • Control – taking over and taking control
  • Distracting – doing something else because of feeling anxious or out of control
  • Isolation – hanging out in their room and staying by themselves, lots of time on videos
  • Pleasing – doing whatever someone else asks because they don't know what they want

All of these are indicators that a kid might be stressed or overwhelmed. Those behaviors are going to show up in a lot of different ways – towards us and towards their friends and towards each other. Beginning to recognize them helps you understand if something else is going on, something that looks like anger or annoyance or isolation or video obsession, but may be that underlying it is something that your child is experiencing where they may need some help.

Bottom Line: before you do anything else, if you see a behavior in your child that you are not loving, to start by saying, “Is it possible that my child is triggered? Is it possible that my child is stressed? Is it possible that my child is overwhelmed? And what are the things that I might look for first to figure that out?”

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