As a parent, you want to help your child successfully navigate through stressful times. For many students, the period leading up to the 11 plus exams may be the first time they’ve experienced real stress. Stress can manifest in many ways. It is important to look out for things that are outside of your child’s normal behaviour or patterns. Here are some signs that may indicate that your child is going through stress…


Mood changes

  • It is common for children to have the odd emotional outburst but if they are showing big emotions more often than usual then this could indicate stress and feelings of overwhelm. This may include rudeness, tearfulness, anger or them wanting to avoid everyone around them.


Sleep disturbances

  • Waking up frequently in the night.
  • Struggling to fall asleep.
  • Nightmares.
  • Not wanting to sleep in a room alone.


Eating changes

  • Stress can affect eating in two ways: reducing appetite or increasing appetite.
  • Your child is often not hungry or barely touches their food.
  • They struggle to eat and may complain of nausea.
  • Excessive need to eat leading to binge eating or complaining that they are constantly hungry.


Unexplained physical symptoms

  • Stress and anxiety can manifest in physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches, gut and digestion issues, nausea to name a few.
  • If you’ve ruled out other possible causes then stress could be the cause.


Beating themselves up verbally or physically

  • They start calling themselves names like “stupid” or “dumb” or any other words that are negative about themselves.
  • They berate or hurt themselves when they don’t answer a question correctly or make a mistake when working.
  • They are constantly saying how much they “suck” at something or are useless at something.
  • Perfectionism.


Work avoidance

  • Where they would usually start working without a fight, it now becomes a constant struggle to get them to work.
  • They may show aggression or be very distracted while working.
  • They tend to drift off or daydream or come up with excuses of needing to do something else before they can start working.
  • They feel the need to constantly clean and organize their workspace and get quite anxious if things aren’t perfect.


Not being able to switch off

  • They’re unable to stop thinking about or talking about work they’re learning or struggling with.
  • Not wanting to stop studying or being unwilling to take breaks.
  • They are spending excessive amounts of time studying or revising work.


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