This post, written by Doug Ranck, originally was published August 3, 2016, on our previous website.
“The American Psychological Association’s (APA) study on stress found that nearly half of America’s kids are stressed. This is bad news because it means unhealthy amounts of stress hormones are coursing through the developing brains of these children and that causes learning and behavior problems.”
How is that for an opening few lines in a blog I recently read?
According to this blog, the human brain does not fully develop until about age 25 so there is plenty of room for vulnerability in the adolescent years. The area of the brain most vulnerable to stress hormones is the prefrontal cortex. Here is where intelligence, learning and impulse control are located. When stress hormones enter the picture, struggle ensues.
Further, the same blog cited a study that found “91 percent of kids say what stresses them most is how stressed their parents have become, and 69 percent of parents were oblivious to the impact their level of stress is having on the kids.” Ouch!
This lines up with the findings from a study by the Families and Work Institute which found that what kids want most is “stress-free parents”. Kids are quite adept at picking up on a parent’s stress level. Kids look for non-verbal cues, like sad expressions, heavy footsteps and/or consistent fatigue.
What shall we do then? I submit a few ideas as logical solutions, flowing from the findings above:
Expanding understanding and best practices for leadership and congregational care.