Effects of Transition on Child Stress (2023)

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Using evidence, write an essay showing how stress is influenced at the levels of the individual, family, locality and society. Chose one intervention at one of the levels and say why you think it could be effective in tackling the problem.

This essay looks at how stress is influenced at many levels: individual, family, locality and society, and concentrates on the level of family, to describe an intervention that could be effective in tackling the problem. As Finlay et al. (2005; p. 141), stress is something that everybody experiences at some point in their life, from children to adults, although excessive amounts of stress can be harmful for individuals in terms of their health and longevity. It is therefore important that the causes of long-term stress be identified and that interventions are utilized in order to minimize the adverse effects of this stress. As Finlay et al. (2005; p. 29-31) point out, however, stress can have many causes, from individual factors, to family concerns, to external factors from the individual’s environment (locality) to societal-level factors, all of which can lead to an individual experiencing stress. This can make it difficult to isolate one intervention that could be effective; the remainder of the essay will, however, describe a case study and will highlight one intervention that might be effective in this case.

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The particular example that will be used is that of a primary-aged child who is showing signs of stress. The child is manifesting behavioural changes, such as disturbed sleep and mood swings, and is experiencing headaches and loss of appetite, all of which are classic signs of childhood stress (Flinn, 1999). The child is the youngest child of a two-child family, and has just started primary school. His parents both work full-time and they are rarely in the house. The family does not eat together. The child’s older brother is a teenager, and is going through exams at the moment. He himself is also showing signs of stress, and all the spare time the parents have, they spend with their oldest child, helping him cope with his exams. It is clear that the youngest child is being neglected emotionally, at a time when he needs support, having just moved to full-time school. There are many stressors on this child, which can be addressed through some simple interventions, which will be discussed below.

A recent study (Turner-Cobb, 2008) shows that, in particular, periods of transition in childhood can be extremely stressful for children. Studies have suggested that stress can be anticipated by children, which can lead to deep anxiety (Primary Report, 2007). As shown by Flinn (1999), untreated stress in childhood can have long-term health effects, such as adverse developmental effects (McEwen, 2008) and increased mortality (McEwen, 2003). In addition, childhood stress can lead to social problems, such as poor familial relationships, and behavioural disorders as a result of this (McEwen, 2003; Alfven et al., 2008; Flinn, 1995). As Flinn and England (1997) show, supported by Bauer and Boyce (2004), these social problems can then lead, in later life, to socio-economic problems caused by long-term health concerns.

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As (Finlay et al., 2005; p.64) state, “Family relationships have both a positive and a negative effect on health behaviours and health”. As suggested, the lack of ‘family meals’, where the whole family sits down to eat can disrupt the parent-children relationship, and can lead to stress being put on the children, who feel they do not have a regular point of contact with their parent(s), breaking the facility for communication with their parent(s) (Finlay et al., 2005; p.64). This certainly seems to be the case here, where the parents work full-time and have little spare time to spend ‘quality time’ with their child. As (Finlay et al., 2005; p.70) suggest, the changing roles within families have put stress on the family, with both parents working meaning that the children are less likely to see their parents for extended periods of time, leading to a greater need for independence at an earlier age and, also, potentially leading to poor health behaviours in the children and to higher levels of stress in these children.

What can be done, what intervention can be suggested, to help this child? Given that the child is young, very young, and is going through a stressful period in his life at the moment, with the transition to full-time school, and that the child is being neglected, emotionally, by his parents, the suggested intervention is that the family attempt to sit down together at all mealtimes. This would give the family an opportunity to be together and would allow the child time to settle down with his parents and to feel comfortable enough to be able to tell them about his worries and his concerns. As shown by Arnold (1990), it is often enough for a child to be given the space to talk for the child to feel less stressed, and to recover from the symptoms of stress they were suffering.

This intervention is expected to be effective in that it would allow connections to be made again between the child and his parents, and his brother, allowing some repair of the disrupted parent-child relationship (Finlay et al., 2005; p. 64). The need for families to have a space (both physical and temporal) where they can be together is paramount, in terms of allowing each family member to interact with each other, allowing them to discuss their worries and concerns and allowing, to some extent, the stressors to be relaxed. This is especially important for a young child who needs to feel protected. Without the protection of their families, their parents, young children can begin to feel vulnerable, with this vulnerability allowing for stressful events to have a far greater negative effect than usual on their responses to stress (Arnold, 1990). By sitting down together as a family, by talking and being listened to, the child can externalize his worries and, once shared, these worries can be dealt with in the most appropriate ways. Indeed, recent studies have shown that families who eat meals together have children who are more emotionally healthy than those families who do not eat together (Fivush and Duke, 2005; Duke et al., 2004).

In summary, the suggested intervention in this case is to sit down together, as a family, to eat together. It is important to realize that such an intervention can have major effects on the sense of belonging a child has, which, in turn, can reduce their sense of vulnerability and can increase their ability to deal with stressful situations, and to avoid suffering from stress. This type of interaction can also lead to greater levels of family cohesiveness and resilience, having the beneficial side effect of contributing to a general reduction in family-level stressors.


Alfven, G. et al. (2008). Stressor, perceived stress and recurrent pain in Swedish schoolchildren. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 65(4), pp. 381-387.

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Arnold, E.L. (1990). Childhood Stress. John Wiley & Sons.

Bauer, A.W. and Boyce, T. (2004) Prophecies of childhood: how children’s social environments and biological propensities affect the health of populations. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 11(3), pp. 164-175.

Duke, M.P. et al. (2004). Of ketchup and kin: dinnertime conversations as a major source of family knowledge, family adjustment and family resilience. The Emory Centre for Myth and Ritual in American Life, Working Paper 26, available from http://www.marial.emory.edu/pdfs/Duke_Fivush027-03.pdf [Accessed on 3rd October 2008].

Finlay, L. et al. (2005). Understanding Health. The Open University.

Fivush, R. et al. (2004). Family narratives and the development of children’s emotional well-being. In Family stories and life course, Pratt, M.W. and Fiese, B.H. (eds.), Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Flinn, M.V. (1995). Childhood stress and family environment. Current Anthropology 36(5), pp. 181-187.

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Flinn, M.V. and England, B. G. (1997). Social economics of childhood glucocorticoid stress response and health. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 102(1), pp. 33-53.

Flinn, M.V. (1999). Family environment, stress and health during childhood. In Hormones, Health and Behaviour, Panter-Brick, C. and Worthman, C.M. (eds.), Cambridge University Press.

McEwen, B.S. (2003). Early life influences on life-long patterns of behaviour and health. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disability Research Review 9(3), pp.149-154.

McEwen, B.S. (2008). Understanding the potency of stressful early life experiences on brain and body function. Metabolism 57(2), pp. 11-15.

Primary Report (2007). Community Soundings: The Primary Review regional witness sessions. Available from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/12_10_2007primary.pdf [Accessed on 3rd October 2008].

Turner-Cobb, J. (2008). Children’s transition to school. Preliminary results available from http://www.bath.ac.uk/schooltransition/home#results [Accessed 3rd October 2008].

(Video) Transition strategies can help prevent meltdowns in special needs students

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How can transitions affect a child's behaviour? ›

They may become angry, have an increased need for affection, regress (go backwards) in behaviour, or develop low self-confidence. Moving to a new home is likely to unsettle young children as familiar surroundings and routines will be affected.

What are 3 reasons children might have difficulty during transitions? ›

A few of those reasons could be that the child is tired, hungry, confused, or not ready to step away from an activity. These difficult transitions are also common for children who have trouble communicating, limited social and emotional skills, or a delay in learning.

How does transitions affect mental health? ›

Life transitions are stressful for everyone, and even adjusting to positive changes can cause stress. For some people, the stress of change can be enough to induce mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. In some cases, the symptoms of mental illness become evident around significant changes in life.

What is the hardest transition of a child? ›

7 reasons going from 1 kid to 2 is the hardest transition
  1. The nap break is over. ...
  2. You have to learn to divide your attention. ...
  3. Dealing with unexpected regressions (Also see: tantrums) ...
  4. You reach next-level tired. ...
  5. The parenting guilt multiplies. ...
  6. Your second baby is a totally different human.
Nov 16, 2019

What are the four transition effects? ›

There are four options to apply effects to: the entrance, emphasis, exit and motion paths. Choose a slide, select an object on the slide, then add your choice of animation. The effect displays in the Slide pane. Preview the slide show by selecting slide show located at the bottom of the task pane.

What are the three basic transition effects? ›

Types of Video Transition
  • Cut. The most common transition — an instant change from one shot to the next. ...
  • Mix / Dissolve / Crossfade. These are all terms to describe the same transition — a gradual fade from one shot to the next. ...
  • Fade. Fades the shot to a single colour, usually black or white. ...
  • Wipe. ...
  • Digital Effects.

What is transitional anxiety? ›

What is transition anxiety? Transition anxiety, also referred to as change anxiety, is when you have feelings of stress or worry surrounding a profound change in your life, says Holly Schiff, a licensed clinical psychologist in New York and Connecticut.

What are the 4 types of transitions? ›

Zip from shot to shot with film transitions. Fade in, fade out, cutaway — transitions are the thread that stitches a film together. Learn about the different types, and experiment with them yourself.

Why are transitions painful? ›

Life transitions are challenging because they force us to let go of the familiar and face the future with a feeling of vulnerability. Most life transitions begin with a string of losses: The loss of a role. The loss of a person.

What are the five stages of transition? ›

The Five Stages of Founder Transitions
  • Stage 1: Pre-Announcement (Denial) ...
  • Stage 2: The Announcement (Anger) ...
  • Stage 3: The Search (Bargaining) ...
  • Stage 4: The Transition (Depression) ...
  • Stage 5: The Future (Acceptance) ...
  • Final Thought.
Aug 19, 2020

How do you help a child who struggles with transitions? ›

8 strategies to make times of transition easier
  1. Timers. Visual timers help kids know when a transition is coming. ...
  2. Schedules. Use a written schedule for older kids and a picture schedule with younger kids. ...
  3. First-then statements. ...
  4. Choices. ...
  5. Give frequent change warnings. ...
  6. Exercise. ...
  7. Music. ...
  8. A transition object.
Mar 18, 2021

What are the 5 types of transitions? ›

Another type of transition is called a referent.
A conjunction is used to join words or groups of words.
  • Coordinating conjunctions. join grammatically equivalent sentence elements. ...
  • Correlative conjunctions. ...
  • Subordinating conjunctions.
Aug 3, 2022

How long does transition usually last? ›

Pushing too soon could make you tired and cause your cervix to swell, which might delay delivery. Pant or blow your way through the contractions. Transition typically lasts 15 to 60 minutes.

What age should you transition? ›

The Endocrine Society recommends that they wait until age 18, but because more kids are transitioning at younger ages, some doctors are doing these surgeries earlier on a case-by-case basis.

What does it mean when a child struggles with transitions? ›

Difficulty with transitions can manifest in a number of ways depending on the child and the setting. It can take the form of resistance, avoidance, distraction, negotiation or a full-blown meltdown. Some of these reactions are the result of kids being overwhelmed by their emotions.

What are the stages of transition? ›

The three phases of transition are:
  • Ending: Something has ended, something is over. We're forced to let go of something we're comfortable with. ...
  • Neutral Zone: This is the bridge between the old and the new. ...
  • New Beginning: We start to embrace the change.
Feb 17, 2016

What are the six phases of the transition process? ›

There are six ways a substance can change between these three phases; melting, freezing, evaporating, condensing, sublimination, and deposition(2). These processes are reversible and each transfers between phases differently: Melting: The transition from the solid to the liquid phase.

What are the 8 transition signals? ›

There are eight (8) basic categories you must learn:
  • To Show Time. ...
  • To Show Place. ...
  • To Add An Idea. ...
  • To Illustrate or Explain an Idea. ...
  • To Compare or Contrast Ideas. ...
  • To Show a Result. ...
  • To Empasize an Idea. ...
  • To Summarize an Idea.

What is the most common type of transition? ›

Additive Transitions. Probably the most common type, additive transitions are those you use when you want to show that the current point is an addition to the previous one, notes Edusson, a website that provides students with essay-writing tips and advice.

What are 3 transitions examples? ›

and, again, and then, besides, equally important, finally, further, furthermore, nor, too, next, lastly, what's more, moreover, in addition, first (second, etc.)

What is transition trauma? ›

Transfer trauma is a term used to describe the stress that a person with dementia may experience when changing living environments. Transfer trauma is more commonly seen in the person with early stage dementia and when one is moving into a facility from their lifelong home.

Why are transitions stressful? ›

Research shows that transitions in life can lead to depression and mental distress. 1 Part of the difficulty lies in dealing with the unknown. “[Transitions] can be a loss of an identity, [or] a loss of a season. I think why they're stressful is because we don't know everything about them.

What helps with transition anxiety? ›

Tips for Dealing with Transitions:
  1. Prepare (when you can). When possible, try to prepare for your transition. ...
  2. Set reasonable expectations. Unmet expectations can create frustration or stress. ...
  3. Develop a routine. ...
  4. Check your self-talk. ...
  5. Set small goals. ...
  6. Stay connected. ...
  7. Practice self-compassion.
Apr 26, 2021

What are 10 examples of transitions? ›

And, in addition to, furthermore, moreover, besides, than, too, also, both-and, another, equally important, first, second, etc., again, further, last, finally, not only-but also, as well as, in the second place, next, likewise, similarly, in fact, as a result, consequently, in the same way, for example, for instance, ...

What is an emotional transition? ›

Emotional transitions are when a child's emotional state is altered for some reason (the transition may even be what alters the emotion!). Examples might be a child missing her parent, frustration with an activity or toy, fear of new experience, too many stimuli, or the child's inability to express himself with words.

Why are transitions important for children? ›

Transition times are important because they can make the day seem smooth and well-organized, or rushed and unpleasant. Allowing enough time so children make the transition gradually is the best way to avoid stressful situations.

What are the seven stages of transition? ›

The seven stages of change are: destabilization, minimizing the impact of change, questioning self-worth, letting go of the past, examining the new situation, searching for the meaning of the transition, and integrating the transition experience.

What is the hardest transition in life? ›

There are many events in life that people can find difficult to adjust to. Some of the most common ones are: reaching a significant age, e.g. 30, 40, 50, 60; getting married; becoming a parent; leaving university; changing job/losing your job; becoming ill or disabled; being bereaved; and retiring.

What happens when a person starts to transitioning? ›

When a patient is transitioning, they are typically bedbound due to exhaustion, weakness, and fatigue. They are less responsive and sleeping most of the time. They may sluggishly rouse when you tap them on the shoulder. They may have a more difficult time waking up.

What are some transition techniques? ›

Here are six strategies to help with more successful transitions:
  • Give a transition warning and individual support. ...
  • Sing the directions. ...
  • Use play and children's interests. ...
  • Choose your words carefully. ...
  • Use visual cues. ...
  • Give specific positive feedback after transitions.
Feb 18, 2020

What are the transition strategies? ›

Transition strategies are techniques used to support individuals with ASD during changes in or disruptions to activities, settings, or routines. The techniques can be used before a transition occurs, during a transition, and/or after a transition, and can be presented verbally, auditorily, or visually.

What happens in the transitional phase? ›

Transition is the final phase of the first stage of labour, following early and active labour. At this point, a woman progresses from seven to 10 centimetres, often in less than an hour. The word transition means that her body is making the shift from opening the cervix to the beginning of the baby's descent.

What two actions might you take to support a child emotionally during a time of transition? ›

Support a calming and soothing atmosphere by providing access to blankets, stuffed toys, family photos, or pacifiers during transition times. This will help them learn how to self-soothe. Provide extra affection and closeness including hugs and reassuring words.

Why are transitions hard ADHD? ›

Adults with ADHD can find transitions difficult, as it requires a large amount of energy and effort to disengage from one activity and move attention to the next. Changing gears like this and shifting focus can leave you feeling irritated, fatigued or scattered.

What are 4 transition signals? ›

• To indicate sequence or order, or logically divide an idea:
at this pointfollowed bysimultaneously
at this timelastultimately

What are the 3 categories of transitions effects in order? ›

About transitions
  • Subtle: These are the most basic types of transitions. ...
  • Exciting: These use more complex animations to transition between slides. ...
  • Dynamic Content: If you're transitioning between two slides that use similar slide layouts, dynamic transitions will move only the placeholders, not the slides themselves.

Does transition cause anxiety? ›

One side effect of transition is anxiety. Anxiety manifests itself through nervous behaviors such as eating too much or too little, watching too much television, playing games, fidgeting, procrastination, tension, pacing back and forth, worry, uneasiness and fear.

How many months does it take to transition? ›

Transitioning is a process that can take anywhere between several months and several years. Some people, especially non-binary or genderqueer people, may spend their whole life transitioning and may redefine and re-interpret their gender as time passes.

At what age is gender dysphoria most common? ›

Transgender Men

Gender dysphoria history: Of the 55 TM patients included in our study, 41 (75%) reported feeling GD for the first time by age 7, and 53 (96%) reported first experiencing GD by age 13 (Table 2). A total of 80% of patients reported that feelings of GD were among their earliest childhood memories.

Do people regret transitioning? ›

The remaining 124 out of 126 (98%) expressed no regrets about transitioning. A 2021 meta-analysis of 27 studies concluded that "there is an extremely low prevalence of regret in transgender patients after [gender-affirmation surgery]".

At what age can a child choose their gender? ›

Gender identity typically develops in stages: Around age two: Children become conscious of the physical differences between boys and girls. Before their third birthday: Most children can easily label themselves as either a boy or a girl. By age four: Most children have a stable sense of their gender identity.

Why do transitions fail? ›

Transitions Happen Too Quickly

Employees and other leaders haven't had enough time to prepare the company for the new stage. As the transitions take place, leaders are too overwhelmed to make decisions and then failure happens. When an employee steps into a leadership role they may not receive they help the need.

How can transitions affect children's behaviour and development? ›

Children react to changes in different ways, depending on their own personality and the nature of the change they are experiencing. Their behaviour can go to the extremes: they can either become quiet and withdrawn or start to produce anger and aggression against their environment.

What types of transitions life events might a child experience? ›

Other types of transitions that children may experience include separation or divorce of parents, a new sibling, moving house or the death of a family member. Children going through these transitions may be experiencing a range of emotions or a sense of loss.

Why do behavioral problems occur more frequently during transitions? ›

Being asked to change activities or locations is often a trigger for behavior like whining, complaining, or throwing tantrums. Kids may not be able to handle the big emotions that can come with transitions. And they might learn that by stalling, they get to avoid the change for a bit longer.

What are transitional behaviors? ›

Transitions are when children move from one activity to another. Everyday transitions include arriving at an educational setting from home, moving from dinner to playtime, finishing playtime and cleaning up, brushing teeth and then taking a bath, and going from bath time to bedtime.

How do multiple transitions affect the lives of children? ›

Undergoing repeated transitions can cause stress by threatening this feeling and undermining kids' and their parents' sense of control over their lives, which then tends to worsen parenting and to lower children's academic achievement and mental health.

What are the 3 types of transitions? ›

In this paragraph about teacher professional development, we can see three kinds of transitions: repetition of key words, implicit phrases, and sentence structure.

Why is it important to support children through transitions? ›

Research suggests that transitions can have a massive impact on children's development and emotional well-being. Therefore, how these first transitions are handled could significantly impact the child's capacity to cope with change in the short and long term.

What are the challenges of transitions? ›

5 Common Transition Challenges (And How to Overcome Them)
  • Loss of purpose. ...
  • Loss of chain of command. ...
  • Different promotion structure. ...
  • Missing the adrenaline rush. ...
  • Feeling alone.


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