By Steve Hill
Many children suffer from various forms of stress and in this article I give advice on how parents can help their child during these periods. Their stress can cause them to have nightmares and to lose their self-confidence. I hope you find this article interesting and beneficial.
Children who have nightmares
There are many reasons why children can start to have nightmares. I have two children, both of whom at various stages of their lives wake up crying and upset.
My young son started to have nightmares after watching the film Lord Of The Rings. He really enjoyed watching the film and wanted to watch it on a regular basis and would even re-inact the battles. The film itself is quite long and he would normally be watching it by himself as his mother and I would be busy doing other things.
I thought about why he may have started to have these type of dreams and believed it was due to this film. I then made a point of watching it with him and kept on reassuring him that the people have not actually died and that they were only acting. I even made a point of laughing at some of the more gruesome scenes and by making comments like, as if that would ever happen. This and by also only allowing him to watch the film once a week, helped to stop this period of nightmares.
Children can also develop nightmares after an illness. This can happen after having a period away from school. They may start to worry that they may have fallen behind with their work, or that they may not be able to get back into their crowd of friends. They may also fear that their best friend may have found a new best friend.
In this situation I would advise that when the child is better and before he returns to school that you re-introduce them to the work that they were studying before the illness. You can even ask the teacher to supply some of the work that the child has missed, to help them to catch up. I myself always phone up the parents of my childrens friends and invite their child round for a meal, and to play, the evening before my child is set to return to school.
Therefore when my children are ill, I always say to them not to worry about the work they may miss or about their friends as they know now how I operate etc.
Children who stress
My daughter at one point started to stress because she was not in any of the top groups in the different subjects she was taking at school. She felt like she was a failure and that we would not be proud of her. I advised her that we knew she was giving it her all at school and that as long as she continued to try her best that we would always be proud of her. After all not every child can be in these top sets.
I reminded her that she was in the netball and athletics teams and tried to make her see the positive way of thinking.
She now knows that even when she believes she is unable to perform a certain task that she should still have a go at it. When she makes an error there will always be somebody their to explain where she went wrong, which she can then learn from for the next time.
As parents it is important that we do not criticise our children too often. This can lead to them fearing failure and can lead to them not even attempting to try certain tasks.
Keep them motivated by making homework fun. Praise the child as often as possible, when they complete something well, this builds up their self-esteem. Instead of shouting at the child when they are naughty, try to talk to them as if they were an adult.
In conclusion I always try to treat my own children in a fair and relaxed manner. I want them to know that I am proud of them even if they do not achieve one hundred percent at school. If they have nightmares, I want to work out why this might be and to break whatever cycle is happening. I attempt to work out what each child is worrying about and then try to help them to find a solution.
Stephen Hill helps writes for a number of websites.
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