Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Reduce the Stress on Kids

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Reduce the Stress on Kids

Article excerpt

BY the time you're a parent, you've probably lived in several homes, and been through the experience of settling into a new place. But children may have only ever known one home, and leaving it can be a significant wrench.

The upheaval is all the more taxing if you're moving well away from your old home and starting a new life elsewhere, where the kids will have to change schools and find new friends.

Leading child psychologist and author Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said moving house had long been identified as an event that creates significant stress.

aIn 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe examined the medical records of over 5000 medical patients as a way to determine whether stressful events might cause illnesses,a Michael said.

aPatients were asked to tally a list of 43 life events based on a relative score. A positive correlation of 0.118 was found between their life events and their illnesses. Their results were published as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. Subsequent validation has supported the links between stress and illness.

aMoving house, unsurprisingly, is on the list as a major stress life event.

aWhile moving can be a time for some great new things a[pounds sterling] like your own room or a new place to explore a[pounds sterling] it can also be a time that's sad and stressful, too. I have counselled many kids facing moves and I have three golden rules to minimise stress.a

Talk about it

Ensure honest, open, communication. No-one likes surprises (especially teenagers) so make sure everyone knows what is going to happen and when.

Provide ample information about the move as soon as possible.

Answer all questions truthfully.

Even if the transition means an enhancement in family life, young people don't always understand that, and may be focused on the worrisome aspects of the change.

Familiarise them with the new house and suburb

If possible, take them to the new place they'll be living at before the move. This will reduce their anxiety levels and engender excitement.

Give them a chance to think about how their room will look. …

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