Health Team

Disaster, displacement can trigger stress in kids

Posted October 14, 2016 6:09 p.m. EDT

Stress doesn't just affect adults. Changes in a child's life can have a big impact. In families dealing with devastating flooding across eastern North Carolina, children may be feeling lots of pressure.

Here are a few signs for parents to look out for:

Negative changes in behavior: For younger kids, withdrawal from their favorite activities, becoming clingy to a parent or even a sudden change in their appetite are all red flags. Become hostile towards family and abandoning friendships are more common signs among teens.

Interaction with others: how your child interacts with others outside of the home can indicate if stress is factor. Experts say a good way for parents to tap into their child's behaviors is communicating with each other, teachers and coaches.

Listen to your child: Kids may often express how overwhelmed they are with words like "angry" or "annoyed," or they speak negatively about themselves. Parent should keep an ear out for key words or phrases that may indicate a source of stress.

Seek support: Parents should know that tackling the stress in their child's life is not something they have to do alone. Licensed therapists can provide the support and guidance their child needs.