Kids get stressed too!!!

Posted by Melissa Callaghan on

Stress is all about perception. What one person considers to be a stressful event, for another it’s like a walk in the park.

Whether it be recovering from a busy year of school or preparing for the hard work next year, NOW is always the right time for getting stress levels under control.

Many adults update their status saying ‘I don’t feel like adulting today!!’ There are often thoughts of returning to childhood the land of no bills or adult responsibilities but we forget that childhood can actually be quite stressful. 

It is often the case that children suffer in silence. 

As an early childhood specialist, I have extensive experience in understanding the thought process of children and teenagers. It can often be difficult to interpret childhood and teenage behaviour as well as their emotions. With over 20 years of experience with both children and teenagers this is where I can help.

Combining my teaching degree with my Naturopath degree has helped me to provide the best possible care for children and teenagers.

Children’s timetables are full and often they just go through the motions of day to day life trying to meet the demands that are placed on them. 

These demands are usually outside sources such as family, school, and friends. It could be the stress of separating from a parent that can cause anxiety, which can occur from a young age as children start childcare. Then as children progress through school there is the academic performance stress and social pressures from trying to ‘FIT’ in.

Stress can also come from inside and the demands that children place on themselves. Just the thought of what should I be doing versus what am I actually doing can cause stress.

Stress is unavoidable and a certain amount of stress is normal and necessary. It’s part of our survival as we grow into adults, it helps us develop skills to cope in new situations and build resilience. This brings me back to my first point. Stress is perceived. What might be easy for one child (or adult) is very stressful for another child.

Why are today’s children more stressed than previous generations???

There are a few theories but no exact answer. Some believe that it is the changes in family dynamics such as in the past families were larger and had more extended family members living together to help out with raising children. There are a lot more smaller family units now which in turns means less support available to parents and children. There is also an increase in divorced families and single parent families, and step families. These changes can drastically alter the experiences of childhood no matter how hard we try to keep it happy, they are still big changes. 

There is also the change of work life where in the past only one parent may have worked and now both are working and children need to spend more time either at childcare or before and after school care. Unfortunately, these are the demands of today’s adult life. Expenses are at an all-time high and we all need to make ends meet. When children aren’t spending a lot of time with their parents it can become quite stressful especially when the time that is spent is usually rushing around going to after school activities or completing routine tasks such as bath, dinner, and bed routines.

It is when stress becomes the constant and becomes intense that changes begin to appear. It can affect both the mental and physical health of the child.

A positive stress response is what is considered part of life and this may include going on a school camp or changing schools. Moving house or doing an exam at school. As long as children feel supported during these experiences they can learn and grow and use these skills in adult life.

When the stressors of life continue over a longer period such as going through a divorce, an illness, injury, or bullying this can sometimes be tolerated but is above a positive stress response and changes will begin to appear.

It is the toxic levels of stress when a child experiences multiple strong stressful events as well as long term strong stressful events and feel that they are alone and not supported (even though they may be – remember it is all about perception). This is where the physical and emotional signs and symptoms begin to appear.
A normal stress response can affect muscle tension, increase blood pressure, and increase heartbeat. All of which are normal reactions to stress. 

It’s the long term toxic stressful events that begin to express as physical such as:

- increases in viruses 
- behavioural changes
- irritable
- moody
- withdrawing from activities
- expressing worries more than usual
- complaining about school alot
- increase in days off school
- fatigue 
- nightmares 
- teeth-grinding 
- insomnia 
- tantrums 
- depression
- anxiety
- eating disorders 
- headaches 
- stomach aches 
- low grades at school.

I also find that often as adults it is often forgotten that the children are still children and think like children and not like adults. I spend alot of time interpreting almost translating children's behaviour to help parents gain a better understanding.

The good news is that changes can be made at a young age which will prevent taking these physical signs and symptoms into adulthood

Who am I?

I am a Bachelor qualified Naturopath who specialises in improving metabolic processes in the body. Major areas for improvement include gut, thyroid, kidney, skin and liver health. Conditions such as hypothyroidism, fatty liver, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, & irritable bowel conditions. I help my patients by giving them symptomatic relief while working on repairing the underlying causes of metabolic stress and waste accumulation. Patients experience amazing results which are seen in their blood tests with improved thyroid markers, cholesterol, and liver markers.  As well as lower blood pressure and see relief from improved gastrointestinal symptoms like the ones that mean you need to know where every single toilet is before you leave the house. 

Melissa Callaghan ND, BHSc, BTeach
Clinical Naturopath


To book an appointment click here 



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With over 20 years experience working with children and teenagers it is only natural that I have a special interest in Children's Health. I understand children. I understand their body language, their behavioural patterns, and their health conditions.

I have worked as a Group Leader, an Early Childhood Teacher, a Director and an Operations Manager. I have built and restructured many childcare centres to turn them into amazing educational centres rather than just babysitting places. My passion is children. So now I am combining my passion for children with my knowledge and experience in natural medicine.

In addition to my experience with children and teenagers I also have a lot of extensive experience in teaching parents and educators to help them understand the behaviours of children. I have given many seminars regarding this to parents as well as teaching other educators and departments within Qld Health to improve their teaching skills and knowledge of children.

My education includes two degrees, one in teaching and one in Health Science to become a Naturopath. I believe passionately in what I do and that I can help many families and I have over 20 years experience doing this.

Common children's health conditions that come in to clinic include:

- Difficulty sleeping
- Low energy
- Lost interest in everything
- Skin reactions
- Acne
- Weight management/dietary advice
- Stress
- Gut health/digestive disorders
- Parasites
- Low immune
- Ear aches
- Anxiety and insecurities
- ADHD/Autism

Common parent health conditions that come in to clinic include:
- Stress
- Anxiety
- Depression
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Parenting guidance and advice
- Sibling battles

I'm here to help

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