Family stress and its effects.
As Ireland continues to face increasing levels of stress, families are becoming a lot more susceptible to pressures from finances and work. Raising a family up can be rewarding and demanding when even in healthy social and economic times, so stressful times can make things a lot more challenging.
An online survey by the Psychological Association (APA), conducted by Harrison Interactive in March 2013, shows that 72 percent of parents report family pressure and responsibilities as a large source of stress. It was also found that 2 out of 3 parents find their stress level has a slight to no impact at all on their child’s stress level. However, only 15 percent of pre teens and teens reported that they are not affected when their parent is stressed. Further, the connection with high stress levels and health is alarming big, with 36 percent of obese parents facing high levels of stress (defined as an 7, 8 or 9 on a 10-point scale) as compared to 21 percent of normal-weight parents. It is very important to analyse the way a parent’s stress and the knock on effect of unhealthy behaviors affecting the family. Example, the APA survey shows that adults who are obese are more prone than those who are normal weight to have kids who are obese. In addition, overweight kids are more prone than normal-weight children to say that their parents are more often worried and stressed.
Kids model their behaviour on their parents, including the ones related to managing stress. Parents who often deal with stress using unhealthy ways risk passing these behaviors on to their children. On the other side, parents who can cope with stress in healthy ways not only show better adjustment and well being for themselves, but also promote the effects of critically important habits in their children.
Parents understand that changing a child’s behavior, let alone their own, can be daunting. Taking small but manageable steps to a healthier lifestyle, families can slowly work toward meeting their own goals to be psychologically & physically fit.