Local psychiatrist discusses the impact stress has on families

Health

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This year has been filled with multiple challenges for families. Remote learning, social distancing, unemployment, civil unrest, and recent delays in the presidential election results have put many parents and children under increased stress.

Speaking with children about stress and its causes is tough for some parents. Even so, child psychiatrist Dr. Naema Qureshi from Albany Medical Center’s Psychiatry Group says it’s best for parents to talk about it anyway.

It’s important for parents and children to know that it’s ok to feel stressed. Parents may be inclined to hide their stress from children, but whether parents openly discuss how they are feeling or not, children are perceptive, said Dr. Qureshi.

While parents may also be inclined to push their needs to the side in order to care for children, Dr. Qureshi said parents should take care of themselves first, especially if they are trying to cope with stress. She said the best way a parent can help their children manage stress is by modeling good coping mechanisms.

The four As of stress management

  • Avoid
  • Alter
  • Accept
  • Adapt

Source: The Mayo Clinic

When stress begins impacting a parent or child’s ability to do daily tasks, Dr. Qureshi said it’s time to get help from a professional clinician.

Dr. Qureshi said parents may also have a difficult time talking about sensitive topics or think children are too young for conversations about political or social issues. She said parents should try to be honest, and that even young children are aware of what’s going on in the world around them. Surveys have found children as young as five years old are aware of political news, Dr. Qureshi said.


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