Managing Stress Begins With Children
Managing stress begins early in life. A review of the report -conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –
Children develop skills they need to manage stress, cope with and adapt to new and potentially threatening situations throughout their life. But when stress is severe to overwhelm the benefits of stress diminish and hinders a child’s ability to cope effectively.
Stress is internal or external influences that disrupt an individual’s normal state of well-being. These influences are capable of affecting health by causing emotional distress and leading to a variety of physiological changes. These changes include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and a dramatic rise in hormone levels.
Managing Stress Includes, Positive, Tolerable And Toxic Stress
- Positive stress is the results of adverse experiences that are short-lived. For example, the first day of childcare, meeting new people, or having a toy taken away from them. This may cause minor psychological changes including increased heart rate and changes in hormone levels. Managing stress with loving care from parents or guardians, can overcome, and deal with normal positive stress.
- Tolerable stress is experiencing adversity that is more intense but short-lived. For example, the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, a frightening experience, and family separation or divorce. A caring adult in these situations is needed so managing stress can influenced.
- Toxic stress is adverse experiences over a long period weeks, months, or years. Examples include maltreatment, abuse and neglect. In these cases, children are unable to effective manage toxic stress on their own. Toxic stress can disrupt early brain development, compromise the functioning of biological systems and lead to long-term health problems. The results can lead to permanent damage. Managing stress requires loving care from an adult so the toxic effects can be reduced.
According to this report: Child maltreatment is a significant public health problem in the US. This toxic stress effects an estimated 8,755,000 juvenile victims, more than 1 of 7 children between 2 and 17 years have experienced maltreatment. Perpetrators are family (77%), acquaintances (23%) and strangers (2%).
Managing Stress For Adult Health And Well-Being
A study on published in 2006 by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente Health Appraisal Clinic in San Diego, took 17,000 adults with a history of abuse, neglect and family dysfunction and their current behaviors and health, making it one of the largest studies of its kind. This Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) study is noteworthy because it links two components that standout.
1) Violence-related stressors including child abuse, neglect, and repeated exposure to intimate partner violence.
2) Risky behaviors and health problems in adulthood.
Adverse childhood experiences increases risky health behaviors in children, and in adolescence it increases the risk for pregnancies, suicide attempts, early initiation of smoking, sexual activity and illicit drug use.
Risk for the following outcomes also increases:
- alcoholism and alcohol abuse
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- fetal death
- illicit drug use
- ischemic heart disease
- liver disease
- risk for intimate partner violence
- multiple sex partners
- suicide attempts
- unintended pregnancies
The study concluded: the short- and long-term outcomes of ACE include a multitude of health and behavior problems, especially as the number of ACE a person experiences increases.
Managing Stress By Relationship Strategies
The report highlights managing stress with safe stable and nurturing relationships provides the framework for stress prevention.
“Children’s experiences are defined through their relationships with their parents, teacher and other caregivers. Healthy relationships act as a buffer against traumatic childhood experiences. They are necessary to ensure the long-term physical and emotion well-being of children.”
The CDC uses a four level social ecological model for managing stress and better understanding of the complex interplay between the individual, relationships, community and societal factors.
Individual level strategies include parent and child education. Relationship strategies involve parent-child centers and home visitations.
Community and Social level strategies include public awareness campaigns – sharing the knowledge, collecting data and secure additional resources to demonstrate that violence prevention leads to overall health and well-being.
For a complete review of the ACE study visit http://www.cdc.gov/ace/index.htm