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Take a Chill Pill, Kids

Take a Chill Pill, Kids

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Published by: ivan_tan_26 on Apr 05, 2011
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4/5/11 2:42 PMTODAYonline | PrintPage 1 of 2http://www.todayonline.com/Print/Health/EDC110405-0000252/Take-a-chill-pill,-kids
Take a chill pill, kids
04:46 AM Apr 05, 2011
by Zafirah Salim
ADULTS tend to view the world of children as happy and carefree. After all, they don'thave jobs to keep or bills to pay, so what could they possibly be stressed about?Associate Professor Daniel Fung, a senior consultant and chief of the department of childand adolescent psychiatry at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), describes stress as "thereaction to some change in one's environment".He added: "Plenty of changes occur in the growing up years; and our mind and bodyreacts to them. The inability to handle these changes is what causes stress."Is your child under stress?Since children are not able to verbalise their problems, they tend to show signs instead.Hence, parents should monitor their child and note if they are undergoing any behaviouralchanges.Dr Ng Koon Hock, a consultant psychiatrist at Thomson Paediatric Centre, who spoke atthe First Mums' and Dads' Congress earlier this year, said: "Signs and symptoms includeirritability, non-compliance with instructions, social withdrawal, crying, clinginess, poorsleep, loss of appetite, or complaints of physical symptoms and frequent physical illnesses."Other signs include poor concentration and loss of interest in school, studies andhomework, refusal of school, deterioration in school grades, tardiness, lethargy,procrastination, preoccupation with addictive activities like playing electronic games, anddisplaying signs of anxiety, worry and sadness."Coping with stressStress may be inevitable, but it can definitely be reduced with good stress managementskills.According to Assoc Prof Fung, "early preparation" is key. Parents should inform theirchildren about stress and that they should expect it in their lives. He added thatanticipating potentially stressful situations will also help.For instance, when children enter school for the first time, parents can let them knowahead of time about the possible stressful situations they might face, such as having toadapt to an unfamiliar environment or having to make new friends."Parents can also expose them to similar situations like bringing them to a playground sothat the children can play and mingle with other kids." Zafirah SalimWhat parents can do1. Spend quality timeMake time for your children each day, even if you are busy.Dr Ng said: "Doing interesting activities together, or just spending time together with nospecific agenda, like having a meal, can help develop the relationship."Assoc Prof Fung also suggests "doing any activity that the children enjoy" to help themrelax.2. Cut down on workload

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