“Parents are grossly underestimating the impact that their stress is having on their children,” says Katherine Nordal, a psychologist and executive director of professional practice for the association, in a news release. The findings ring true with me. I was often surprised to learn that my children knew I was stressed-out during times I thought I was doing a good job of protecting them from it.Share
One in five children say they worry a lot about problems in their lives, but only 8% of parents report that their kids are experiencing a lot of stress. And parents’ teachings about healthy habits aren’t always sinking in. The attitude gap is biggest on the topic of computer activities: only 31% of youth think it’s important to get away from the computer now and then, vs. 75% of parents. Large numbers of children, in fact, turn to computer video games or other sedentary activities, such as watching TV or listening to music, to calm themselves when stressed, the association says.
Underestimating kids’ stress when they are young, and failing to teach them how to manage it, risks setting long-term behavioral patterns that could harm their health, putting children at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and depression, the APA says.