A Parent's Stress Can Be Really Harmful to Kids

stress hurts kids
Be Like the Baby
Here's something else for us all to stress out about: Your stress is hurting your kids. In fact, you may be personally responsible for everything from asthma to autism -- just by stressing out over your job, your mom, or your neighborhood association. Let's assume the stress one feels during pregnancy counts double, okay? Since after all, the stress crosses the placenta and your baby is born all kinds of upset because your boss is a d-bag who believes giving you maternity leave is a "free vacation."

The author of a new book, Kids Pick Up on Everything: How Parental Stress is Toxic to Kids, David Code, explains how a parent's "anxious mind" has a negative effect on a child's "sensitive body." Yes, even in utero.

Is anyone else stressing about this?


Personally, I know my kids tend to go a little feral when I'm in a tizzy for an extended amount of time. So I can see a direct line between my stress and their behavior. But to cause health problems in my children because having a baby is, you know, stressful feels a little bit unrealistic. I'm not saying anything is inaccurate in this finding, I'm simply saying we all stress out when a new baby upends our life. What would make me even more stressed out is to think that I could be causing my baby's brain to become re-wired, like Code explains in his book.

After studying DNA over a period of time, the children of stressed out parents showed changes for the worse. Actual changes within the DNA that can cause behavioral problems as well as physical. Asthma and Type 1 diabetes are two of the biggies, but let's not forget about ADHD and even schizophrenia.

Needless to say Code says parents need to chill out, and now. Which has naturally got me all upset. While he likens this research to smoking and alcohol use, it's not as easy to just not be stressed for the sake of your child's health as it is to put down the bottle and stub out a cigarette. But apparently that's what we've got to do if we want to raise healthy, non-afflicted kids.

So here's what you do: Put down your computer, pick up a phone, and make a weekly standing appointment at the spa. Quit your horrible job and figure out another way to pay for those weekly spa appointments. Leave your jerk of a spouse, then really figure out another way to pay for those massages, and food, and transport, on a single parent salary. Stop thinking about your aging parents and worrying about their health. Or even better! Put mom and dad on an ice floe and forget all about it! Oh, and that nagging health issue, just read a self-help book and add in a yoga and meditation class every day to deal. Money? Oh, right.

How do you keep from stressing out and not permanently damaging your kids?


Image via cianic/Flickr

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