7 Causes of Tension in Children That You Should Know about ...

There are many causes of tension in children, and if you have a child or you work with children, it’s very important to know those causes. When children deal with emotions they don’t know how to handle, it often leads to disruptive or undesirable behavior, and really! Who wants that!? Keep reading to find out a few causes of tension in children to look out for!

1. Overstimulation

One of the main causes of tension in children is overstimulation or overexcitement. It’s a great idea to keep your child busy with activities, but if you keep them too busy, it’s very likely that they’ll be bombarded with too many emotions for them to handle, which can result in misbehavior. Keep in mind that kids need down time too, even if they don’t want it. For the sake of you and your child, plan activities and go through with them one at a time, and be sure to schedule breaks!

2. Breaks in Routines

Spontaneity and surprises are exciting, but if you don’t want to overwhelm your child, try to stick as closely to your normal schedule as possible. Schedules let children know what they should expect and when to expect it. If there’s a change in their routines, it’s very likely that there will be a change in their behaviors as well.

3. Noise

We all respond to sound differently. Many children are very sensitive to noise, which is normal. It’s important to keep that in mind, because in response to that sensitivity, some children become tense, stressed, or frustrated. When you’re upset or excited, try to remember to keep your voice low and calm, especially if you know that your child has noise sensitivities.

4. Waiting Time

When children have to wait long periods of time, it can be frustrating for them. I’m not even a child, and I can relate to that! A great way to keep children relaxed in these situations is by giving them a game to play with or a book to read while they wait. Time will fly for them, and you won’t have to deal with misbehavior! Win-win!

5. Frustration

Frustration is an obvious one. You don’t have to be a child to act out due to frustration! This is a huge cause of tension. When children feel like they're not in control or they're defeated, they could become overwhelmed with frustration. Find activities for your children to do that match their abilities; that way they can feel encouraged and able, which can greatly decrease the frustration that would lead to tension and misbehavior.

6. Physical Problems

Another cause of tension and misbehavior is physical problems. If a child is sick or physically disabled, caring for those children can be a challenge because they’re very likely to exhibit undesirable behavior. You can work hard to keep your child healthy to avoid this, but sometimes physical problems are unpreventable. In that case, be as understanding as possible and see your health care provider or counselor for specific techniques to deal with your child’s illness.

7. Stress

Finally, stress can cause great tension in children. When children are constantly physically and emotionally stressed, it can take a huge toll on their overall health which, as we talked earlier, about can lead to tension and misbehavior. A few signs of stress in children are anger, baby talk, bed-wetting, laziness, kicking, hitting, indigestion, tattling, and respiratory tract illness. Watch for these and try to promote a positive environment to reduce this stress. Talk to your children and actually listen to them. When children feel heard and understood, they’re less stressed and more likely to exhibit acceptable behavior.

Now that you’re familiar with the reasons why children are tense, you can expect or possibly avoid the behavioral problems that come with it. What are a few behavioral changes in your children when they undergo some of these causes of tension? Come on! Share!

Sources: Herr, J. (1998). Working with young children. Tinley Park, IL: The Goodheart-Willcox Company, Inc.