Tuesday, January 12, 2010


How to deal with stressed kids

Many of us are familiar with the daily stress of work, bills, taking care of the children, etc… The list of life’s pressures is seemingly endless.

Sometimes we forget that our children can become stressed out as well.

On Thursday, Jan. 14, Backus Hospital’s Education Department will offer an important program for the community that I encourage parents to attend.

“Stressed Out? So Are Your Kids” will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. in the hospital’s entry -evel conference rooms. You can register for the free program by calling 823-6313.

It’s not always easy to recognize that kids are stressed, but make no mistake about it, they can be. I see it in my practice all the time.

Causes of stress can be bickering parents, divorce, social and academic pressures or a death in the family.

With all the added extracurricular activities and sports children participate in now, stress and anxiety is even more likely. Some are too busy to play or relax after school, and this isn’t healthy.

At the event Thursday, Carolyn Trasko, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist in private practice in Preston, and Cara Westcott, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker from United Community and Family Services of Norwich, will offer families a tool kit for stressed out children and also teach parents how to recognize some symptoms that could actually be warning signs. These symptoms include headaches, stomachaches, picking up new unusual habits, mood swings and spending more time alone.

Some of my recommendations to reduce stress in children are to make sure they get enough rest, eat right and have time to rest and play after school. Spend quality time with them, and make sure not to argue in front of them. Even if you think they aren’t paying attention – they are.

Thursday’s event will offer more tips that should make family life – and life in general – more enjoyable for everyone.

Ravi Prakash, MD, is a pediatrician on the Backus Hospital Medical Staff with a private practice in Norwich. This column should not replace advice or instruction from your physician. E-mail Dr. Prakash or any of the Healthy Living columnists at healthyliving@wwbh.org. To comment on this or other Healthy Living columns, click below or go to the Healthy Living blog at www.backushospital.org/backus-blogs.

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