Childhood Tears and Tantrums Could Lead to Stroke and Heart Attack

Childhood Tears and Tantrums Could Lead to Stroke and Heart Attack

A new study has linked childhood tears and tantrums to a higher incidence of strokes and heart disease in adulthood. Find out more about throwing tantrums and increased stroke risk here.

Tantrums and tears are a common part of any childhood and apart from causing parents to occasionally want to pull their hair out in frustration; it was never viewed as something worrying.

However, in a Daily Mail report, those tears and tantrums could cause more harm to your child than you might think.

RELATED: If my toddler throws another tantrum, I’ll scream!

Tantrums and tears are bad for your heart

Childhood Tears and Tantrums Could Lead to Stroke and Heart Attack

A study led by Dr Allison Appleton from Harvard Medical School has found that those who got upset often when they were seven years old had a significantly higher risk of having a stroke or heart attack when they hit 40. On the other hand, children who stayed calm instead of flying into a hissy fit every time they felt upset had a lower risk of the diseases later in life. The findings were published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

More pronounced in women

The findings also pointed to gender being a factor as women who had experienced high levels of distress when they were seven were associated with a 31 percent increased risk of heart disease as opposed to a 17 percent increase in men.

The study

The study was based on 377 adults who had undergone emotional behaviour tests as children. Those results were then compared with a risk score for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. It was found that those who experienced a stressful childhood, had a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke in their 40s.

Stress is REALLY not good for you

Role of Family in Mental Health

Image source: iStock

The findings shed further light on the fact that negative experiences during childhood could have a psychosomatic effect on a person’s health during adulthood.

Other earlier studies have also pointed to childhood stress being more ‘harmful’ than good. For example, researchers at Harvard revealed that early childhood adversity can trigger a toxic stress response in children’s bodies and brains. The effects of this include a higher risk for problems in learning, behaviour, and health throughout their lifetimes.

Another study conducted by researchers from Plymouth University revealed parents who hit or shouted at their children increased their risk of developing cancer, heart disease and asthma. The researchers controversially suggested that these actions had the same long term health implications as serious abuse and trauma.

The study, published in the Journal of Behavioural Medicine, pointed to stress as the mitigating factor for the increased risk as even normal smacking and shouting at children could causes them stress!

Study leader, Professor Michael Hyland said, “Our research adds a new perspective on the increasing evidence that the use of corporal punishment can contribute to childhood stress, and when it becomes a stressor, corporal punishment contributes to poor outcomes both for the individual concerned and for society.”

RELATED: Discipline vs. punishment: what’s the difference?


teacher hits students

The question then is why has stress become such a big part of childhood? After all, isn’t our time as a kid supposed to be the most care and worry-free times of our lives? Yet, in the modern world, where kids grow up too fast, stress has unfortunately come to be part of that childhood. However, there are ways we can help our children truly have a deserved childhood without weighing them down with the worries of the world.

Leave the worries behind

  • Teach your child to be contented
  • Do not overload your children, for fear of them ‘being left behind’ in school
  • Identify the stressor that is causing your child to have temper tantrums and deal with that issue

RELATED: Teaching children to be thankful

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Written by

Wafa Marican

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