Changes in children's stressors over the years

Filed under: Big Kids, Teens, Development/Milestones: Babies, Day Care & Education

We've probably all had a grandparent or older relative tell us that it was much tougher for kids in his or her days than it is now. The long walk to and from school seems to get longer each time we hear about it. Or, there was the dreaded teacher who actually used rulers on kids. Over the time, I was wondering what social and political changes have introduced new sources of stressors for children. A study in an issue of Pediatric Nursing last year examined two large studies of 7 to 12year-old children that identified stressors from a child's perspective, compared them to items in existing instruments, analyzed changes in stressors over the past 30 years, and determined the need for a new instrument. The children named 908 stressors that were inductively sorted into 54 mutually exclusive categories of stressors. Only 24% to 50% of the categories were represented in existing instruments that examined stress. Stressors that emerged in 2000 included being alone, tests, family fighting, too many things to do, and boyfriend/girlfriend issues. The findings provide insight into differences between adults' versus children's perspectives on stressors and invite speculation on the reasons why new stressors emerge over the years. They also suggest the need for a new instrument that captures the full range of stressors that children experience today.

The range of new stressors confirm that what bothers our kids are different that what caused stress in us or our older relatives. Being alone would not seem as a stressor, but in today's world where we are constantly bombarded with stimulation of one kind or another, it must be for some children. Any stressors you'd like to add?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.