Miranda Castro
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:: Stressbusting with Your Children ::

    

Not Another Cough & Cold

Amy rang this morning to complain that Mary, her 10-year-old daughter was sick again with a bad cough and cold. It had only been a month since her last illness. I asked Amy whether anything had preceded her getting sick and she said, “No, nothing unusual.’ So we continued talking and I kept asking questions about this and that until Amy said ‘Gosh – I completely forgot. We went to the dentist last week because she’s been having lots of pain. Apparently her permanent eye teeth are coming in. It feels just like when she was teething as a toddler!’ That sparked off some more questions and bingo! Everything fell into place.

Mary had grown a good inch the previous month. She had become lethargic and pale, not wanting to get up and go in the weeks after her growth spurt. That period coincided with the week before she fell sick, which happened to be when her teeth were coming in. Mary’s mum and I both felt relieved. There was a reason why she was getting sick and it made sense. Amy and Mary were both thankful it wasn’t anything more serious – like an underlying chronic weakness or disease.

The remedy Calcarea phosphorica quickly helped her over her cough and cold and restored her vitality. I suggested Amy dedicate a ‘door jamb’ to Mary’s growth and that she check her height once a month or when Mary seems to be ‘slowing down’ in general. I told Amy to give her daughter Calcarea phosphorica after a growth spurt if it affected her vitality, knowing that it would help her body adjust to the stress and prevent her from falling ill.

  

A Rough Guide

It’s good to know what stresses you—and what stresses your children as well! For some kids growth spurts are no big deal. Others are completely drained by them. Some kids produce teeth without missing a step. Others make a really big palaver out of them.

Use the Holmes and Rahe Stress Chart as a rough guide to review your children’s stresses every so often and look at how they may be impacting their health overall. Add stressors that are known to affect your child, and score them appropriately – giving them a higher or lower score depending on how stressful they are. Involve your child in these ‘Stress Assessments’– you’ll find yourselves having an interesting conversation before long – about life’s many stressors and what your child thinks or feels about them. Be sure to talk about how they affect you as well. The seeds you sow about we are all different will take root and provide a useful sense of perspective for the rest of your child’s life.

  

Stress Scores

A score of 300 or more points in any one year means that there’s a higher chance of falling ill (up to 80% in adults); a score of 150-299 means that there’s a moderately high chance of falling ill (about 50%); and a score of under 150 means that your chance of falling ill is fairly low (around 30%). Stresses can be cumulative so it can be useful to add up stresses from previous years and compare scores – and also to look at whether the effects from older stresses are lingering on. Children with a low stress tolerance may fall ill with stress scores as low as 150. Those with a high stress tolerance may need to hit 300 or even 400 before they get sick.

  

Stress Relievers

It’s also helpful to make a list of all the things that balance out stress in your child, so that during times of higher stress you are doing what you can to build their vitality. Our children’s bodies are always grateful for extra sleep and rest when we are under stress. Getting enough sleep can be a challenge with everyone’s busy schedule. Just remember how disrupted that schedule can become by illness and get some extra hours as a preventative measure. Good nutrition, exercise and fresh air also help to strengthen us.

For children who are naturally introverted some good chunks of time alone – reading or listening to music – will recharge their batteries. The extraverts need to hang out with their friends.

Love and laughter are two great healers. Telling your child you love him or her helps a bit, demonstrating it helps a lot. We may need to be creative with how we do that depending on our children’s personalities and needs.

Take an occasional ‘health day’ and do things completely unassociated with work or school. Get each person in your family to make a list of the things that they love to do but don’t do because there isn’t enough time.

Feeling a sense of connectedness, and being loved—in the home and/or with friends—alleviates stress. Everyone’s too connected to machines these days. Turn off all televisions and computers for a day. Spend a day doing things to connect with each other and with the creative juices within: like gardening, cooking, reading, playing board games and of course, napping!

Finally, remember that your children each have their own unique characters and needs. Helping your child to learn about themselves, about what stresses them and what alleviates stress is a gift of knowing that will last their whole lives.


Holmes & Rahe Social Readjustment Rating Scale, Thomas H Holmes, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Vol II, pp. 213-218, reprinted by permission of Pergamon Press, copyright 1967 by Elsevier Science, Inc.

Death of a parent, boyfriend/girlfriend

150

Divorce of parents

65

Puberty

65

Teenage pregnancy

65

Breakup with boyfriend or girlfriend

60

Jail term or probation

60

Death of another family member

60

Broken engagement

55

Engagement

50

Serious personal injury or illness

45

Marriage

45

Entering university or changing schools

45

Change in independence or responsibility

45

Any drug and/or alcohol use

45

Expelled from school (or fired from work)

45

Change in alcohol or drug use

45

Reconciliation with boyfriend/girlfriend or family member

45

Trouble at school

40

Working while attending school

40

Working more than 40 hours a week

35

Changing course of study

35

Change in frequency of dating

35

Sexual adjustment problems (confusion of sexual identity)

35

Gain of new family member (new baby or step-family through marriage)

35

Change in work responsibilities

35

Change in financial state

30

Death of a close friend

30

Change to a different kind of work

30

Change in number of arguments with family or friends

30

Sleep less than 8 hours per night

25

Trouble with in-laws or boy/girl friends family

25

Outstanding personal achievement (awards, grades etc)

25

Parents start or stop working

20

Beginning or ending school

20

Change in living conditions (as adults)

20

Change in personal habits e.g. dieting, smoking etc

20

Chronic allergies

20

Trouble with boss

20

Change in work hours

15

Change in residence

15

Change to a new school

15

Presently in pre-menstrual period

15

Change in religious activity

15

Going into debt (personal or family)

10

Change in frequency of family gatherings

10

Holiday

10

Presently in winter holiday season

10

Minor violation of the law

5

 

Miranda Castro 2012

 


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