When children are harshly threatened either by their parents, instructors or environment, when they brutally get abused, their sensitive brains literally get scared. It has been revealed by the top researchers of prestigious Stanford University. Scientists have also unearthed that there is a structure in brain called hippocampus. Its function is to help in sorting and storing emotions and memory. Those kids who suffer from PTSD had shrunken hippocampus. Because of this children may become less capable to tackle stress which consequently leads to anxiety related complications and impedes children brain development.
Sources of Stress
The social atmosphere in which children live has immense impact upon them through their brain. Aside from major events in life, neglect and abuse, it’s the mundane everyday experiences in the school, neighborhood and family that cause toxic stress and hinder the brain of kids to function in the optimal way. Moreover, socioeconomic status can also play a huge role in perking up stress to the dangerous levels in kids that ultimately cause some severe damage to the brain.
Domestic violence, mistreatment and social environment are not the only conditions in which kids encounter high levels of stress that manipulate the children brain development. There are some other stressors as well that are equally noxious. Obesity is one of them. These days, there are thousands of young children who are encountering this serious medical condition. Apart from inducing physical detrimental effects like diabetes, obesity leads to stress too that has damaging impact on the mind of young children as it obstructs their learning capacity and snatch away their self confidence.
Those children who get exposed to overwhelming amount of stress are also more prone to developing complications like dementia in the later stages of their life. Therefore, considering wide ranging counteractive measures, such as mental therapies, good environment and healthy diet, are necessary for the brain to recover from all these potential mental issues.
Dangerous levels of stress can also originate from seemingly healthy activities. In academic institutes competition to be the best in class is on the rise and in some places it has even reached terrifying degree. You can see a lot of kids today who are always too busy in school projects to go out and play for sometime or relax for a while after school hours. If your kids start complaining about participating in all the pastime activities, it should be taken as a warning sign.
Effects of Stress on Children’s Brain Development
Brain has the key role when it comes to bearing chronic stress and adapting accordingly. The reason behind it is that it perceives potential dangers and decides behavioral responses that range from fleeing or fighting to anxiety and vigilance. Brain is also responsible to determine a wide variety of behaviors that are detrimental to health, including getting addicted to drugs in very early ages, sleeping badly, overeating and self inflicted physical abuse.
Through nervous system of children, brain tends to regulate diverse metabolic, immune and hormonal processes of their body. As a result of it, the hormones that control metabolism and stress negatively influence the brain. They have the power to change neurons’ connections, their structure and influence behavior. For instance, it has been observed that chronic stress is powerful enough to diminish cognitive and memory flexibility, increase anxiety and slow down children brain development. However, it is fortunate that such alterations in the neural circuitry can be reversed by a resilient and healthy child brain.
How to Intervene Stress
Toxic stress beyond any doubt weakens the entire architecture of children’s brain and can also disrupt mental health development. This intense state of stress takes place when no there are no supportive caregivers around kids who can buffer children’s response to recurring negative experiences. Chronic stress can hurt the brain of kids in so many ways that can affect them for the rest of their lives. That is why it is very critical to help children who are encountering such a callous problem.
There are basically two ways major methods through which you can intervene on the behalf of those children who are encountering toxic stress. First one is you being an adult can aid in soothing kids who are apparently disturbed by stress. You can try to calm their feelings and emotions down and assist them in getting mechanisms to respond to stress back to the normal, healthy levels. Adults can effectively help children learn different coping skills so that they can later on efficiently tackle stress.
Prevention is the second and perhaps the most imperative intervention technique which can be employed to manage toxic stress that hurts children brain development. To be able to do this you have got to identify the source that is causing stress in the first place. Once you know the problem behind this situation, you have got to target it to ensure that it does not keep on upsetting children’s mental health. Parents and caregivers have an instrumental role in this technique. After all, they have the ultimate power to shield their kids from all those scenarios that cause severe stress.