Everyone struggles with stress from time to time. Finances and work stresses are the most common, and often go hand-in-hand. You may think that you are putting on a brave face in front of your family, but kids are perceptive and can pick up on your mood. There are almost always signs your work stress is impacting your kids, even if you think that they don't notice.
When I was a little girl, I could always tell when my dad was stressed out at work. Sometimes, it was because he wasn't getting enough overtime, and other times it was because he'd been working several consecutive 60-hour work weeks. I knew, just by the look on his face as he walked through the door, which were good days and which were bad. I tried really hard not to interrupt him as he relaxed in front of the television to ask for field trip money or remind him of my club dues on the bad days. To say that his work stress impacted me was an understatement.
Are you bringing home your work stresses? It's important to look for signs that your kids are being impacted by your personal stress so that you can take some steps to prevent it from happening in the future.
1. Your Kids Walk On Eggshells
Kids Safety Network suggests that if your kids seem anxious or hesitant to approach you, it is a sign that they are being affected by your stress. Kids depend on their parents, and feeling as though they don't have free reign to come up to you to talk about important issues can impact their sense of trust and negatively affect your future lines of communication.
2. You Don't See Your Kids Enough
If your long working hours are preventing you from spending time with your kids, they will feel it. Reader's Digest reports that children know that when their parents won't spend time with them, it is usually because they are stressed. It's difficult, and sometimes impossible, to change your work schedule to accommodate more time with your children, which makes the quality of the time you spend together even more important.
3. Your Kids Over Eat
A study by the American Psychological Association found that children who believe they are overweight are more likely to report that their parents are stressed out always or often than children who believe they are normal weight. The study also found that stressed out kids are likely to cope by eating and sleeping.
4. Your Kids Are Struggling In School
The American Prospect reported that maternal work stress, specifically job loss, can cause an increase in children acting out in classrooms. Additionally, children of parents who lose their job have a 15 percent higher chance of being held back in school, are less likely to graduate from college, and earn nine percent less annually as adults.
5. Your Kids Have Health Issues
Stress during pregnancy is linked to several developmental problems in children. According to Forbes, "a parent’s stress level can affect a child’s very makeup, including his or her risk of mood disorders, addiction, and even disorders like ADHD and autism." You might think that stressing out about your upcoming maternity leave has no effect on the baby in your belly, but it just might.