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How Kids View Their Parents' Stress and Anger

Second-hand stress is a big problem for kids. In a recent survey, researcher Ellen Galinsky interviewed more than 1,000 children in grades 3-12 and asked them, "If you were granted one wish to change the way your mother's/father's work affects your life, what would that wish be?" Kid's answers were striking. They rarely wished for extra face time with their parents. Instead, they wished that their parents would be less stressed out and tired. But the parents in the survey were completely out of touch. Virtually none guessed that their kids would use their one wish to reduce their stress.

Galinsky then asked the children to grade their parents on a dozen scales. Overall, the parents came out with high marks from their kids. Moms had an overall GPA of 3.14 and dads got an average grade of 2.98. But anger management was most parents' Achilles heel. More than 40 percent of kids gave their moms and dads a C, D, or F for "controlling his/her temper when I do something that makes him/her angry." That was the worst rating on the parental report card.

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