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Parents' stress filters down to kids, not that Mom and Dad notice

November 11, 2010|By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times
  • A graphic on how parents' stress affects children from the "Stress in America" survey.
A graphic on how parents' stress affects children from the "Stress… (American Psychological…)

Parents' stress can take a toll on their kids. Ask children, not Mom and Dad, how they are affected by their parents' stress.

In a new survey reported by the American Psychological Assn., children who say their parents are stressed out also say they feel that way. Some said it made them feel sad, worried or frustrated — feelings parents seem to be unaware of, according to the survey.

"Even though children know when their parents are stressed and admit that it directly affects them, parents are grossly underestimating the impact that their stress is having on their children," psychologist Katherine C. Nordal says in the association's report on the survey. Check out the findings at the "Stress in America" survey .

None of this bodes well in terms of the long-term physical and emotional effects of all this family angst.

Obviously, getting a handle on your own stress pays off. If not for you, for your kids. Here are some tips from the Child Development Institute  and HelpGuide.org. And even better, here's a collection of activities from Livestrong.com that can help kids handle their stress.

So let's all take a deep breath before the kids come home from school.

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