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Children Are Dangerously Stressed and Their Parents Are…Out to Lunch

One nation, under stress, with sleeplessness and anxiety for all.

US_Flag_Flying_1A nationwide survey about stress has revealed a worrisome disconnect between what parents believe causes stress in their children, or that their children have any stress at all, and what the children themselves consider seriously stressful. Here are some of the most disconcerting findings.

  • Stress and worry about their family’s financial difficulties are having a significant impact on young people, and their parents either don’t know it or don’t believe it.
  • Children are more likely to have experienced difficulty sleeping in the past month than their parents know about.
  • Fewer parents than children believe that children’s stress has increased in the past year.
  • Parents appear to be unaware of the degree to which children report physical symptoms like headaches that are often associated with stress.
  • Children are four times more likely to report having eaten too much or too little in the past month than their parents noticed.

The recent survey, Stress in America by the American Psychological Association, reveals that American children are not getting the attention or the support they need to identify and understand stress or to learn healthy strategies for managing its effects.

The full executive summary of the survey is available from the APA here. It is not an easy or comfortable read.  Over 40% of Americans report that their stress has increased in the last year. The same percentage report that they lay awake at night because of stress. And the same percentage again say they eat too much or eat unhealthy foods because of stress.