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Holiday Stress Can Impact Children As Much As Adults

By Suzanne Monaghan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But the hustle and bustle of the holidays can cause stress and depression in kids.

The holidays bring with them a multitude of demands and financial burdens. And the stress parents feel can trickle down to their children.

"We do receive a lot of calls during the holidays about youth who experience depression and anxiety," says Kathy Enerlich, Executive Director of PerformCare New Jersey.

Enerlich encourages parents to take time to notice any changes in behavior.

"Very often you'll see children who will withdraw from their normal activities," she says, "They might be irritable. Perhaps there is a change in their eating or sleeping patterns."

And Enerlich says the sentimental feeling of the holidays can trigger reminders of sad life events.

"It might be a youth whose parent is serving in the military and is away from home," she says. "Or perhaps just a painful reminder of the death of a loved one."

Enerlich says parents should encourage their children to talk about their feelings and let them know it's okay to need help.

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