Children spread stress from their parents
Research shows that when parents try to hide stress, their children feel instability and stress.
One morning, Polly Campbell, a female speaker and writer specializing in American psychology, woke up early to do housework, before her husband and daughter woke up. After a few minutes of cleaning the puddle due to the leaking pipe, she opened the door for the dog to run outside and moved the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer. By the time Polly had to work, her husband was still talking on the phone noisily and his daughter was eating cereal.
Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the entire Polly family was at home. Husband "occupies" the office so the author had to write on the dining table, next to a teenage child who simultaneously solved algebra and hummed her favorite song.
The editor asked Polly to submit the essay at noon but she could not concentrate. With each passing minute, she felt nervous because the deadline for submission was approaching. She almost cried when she accidentally deleted a long paragraph.
Polly said nothing but inside, she was both angry and impatient. She scratched her hair and looked at the computer screen, seeing her reflective face scowling.
The table surface suddenly shook. Turning, Polly saw her daughter flutter her legs. She played with her hair, forced it up and down and sighed, threw a pencil on her notebook, saying, "I'm very stressed out."
"I think she got stress from me," Polly said.
According to a new study in the Journal of Family Psychology, even though adults try to stay calm, stress from them can still spread and affect their children. Through observation, the researchers found that when the mother tried to hide stress and other negative emotions, the child would feel unstable, even though he did not know what was going on.
Children are very sensitive. According to Associate Professor Sara Waters from Washington State University, one of the study authors, they know when adults pretend to be okay. Besides, members of families often hide their true feelings, especially when discussing difficult or conflicting topics, which tend to be cold and distant.
The days at home, the Polly family members are stressful. She didn't want her emotions to weigh on her, but pretending that everything was okay only made the situation worse.
In the end, Polly decided to sit down and talk to his daughter. "I simply explain to my children to understand that I am stressed because I have to watch my children study and complete the work in the context of life being turned upside down," she explained. "I also assert to my children that this is a difficult time but we are okay. Despite the stress, we can still control our emotions to feel better."
Listening to her mother, daughter Polly confessed that she was nervous because she thought she was angry. After a few minutes of conversation, they calm down and sympathize with each other. Polly's daughter returned to algebra homework and the author completed her work in a timely manner.
"We don't realize how stress can spread and make people more stressed," Polly concluded. From her story, she draws on three things she should do to end the vicious cycle.
First, watch for body signs like neck tightness, stomach aches. Most likely it is a warning that your mind is tired.
Second, identify the emotions behind your body symptoms. Ask yourself whether you are sad or angry and what the reason is.
Finally, talk or write about your feelings, as detailed as possible. If you find it difficult, a sentence "I'm under pressure to get the job done on time" is enough to help you get rid of and avoid affecting people around you.
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