5 Important Differences Between Stress and Anxiety in Kids
Many parents don't understand the difference between stress and anxiety in adults, let alone in children. According to Dr. Aarti Gupta, a psychologist and clinical director of TherapyNest: A Center for Anxiety and Family Therapy, the terms "stress" and "anxiety" are often used interchangeably in the English vernacular, but there are major differences between the two. "I conceptualize stress as an external pressure or tension that is exerted on a child. Sources of stress for kids could be parental conflict, moving to a new home, excessive homework, bullying at school, or even a scary book or movie," Gupta explained to POPSUGAR. However, she describes anxiety as the response to that stress, which parents can see in worry, nervousness, or in their kids feeling uncertain.
It can be difficult for children to articulate their feelings either way, so it's important to keep an eye on clues that might give away any uneasiness. Gupta explained that if your child is experiencing anxiety or stress, he or she may be clingy or display changes in sleeping or eating patterns, have high levels of irritability or a short temper, be tearful, report stomachaches, and refuse to go to school. Stress is a normal part of life, but a generalized anxiety disorder involves more than that temporary worry. Here are the five major differences between stress and anxiety.