The Signs to Identify a Stressed Family

In a stressed family, it seems that everything is destined for frustration. Learn to identify some of its characteristics early on in order to know how to act in a timely manner.
The Signs to Identify a Stressed Family
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

A stressed family has very serious consequences for each of its members. The frustrations of adults greatly influence children’s stress levels.

If you don’t do something about it, soon, the peace of your home will become an environment in which no one will feel comfortable. Living surrounded by tension doesn’t do any good to anyone. And, therefore, you need to solve this problem before it gets worse.

Stress is the evil of the 21st century, but we shouldn’t despair because of that. A stressed family can get by as long as you seek help and remain proactive. Now, from your perspective as an adult, do you think that your family coexistence has become more complex because of stress?

You can confirm it with the signs that we’ll present below.

Even an adult finds it difficult to get rid of stress. All human beings are capable – to a greater or lesser extent, according to our tools – of minimizing stress. In front of our children, we must set an example and help them manage stress so that, little by little, they’re able to cope with it.

How do you know if you live in a stressed family? Learn to recognize the signs.

The signs of a stressed family

  1. Sleep routines are disturbed. One of the main consequences of stress is a drastic change in sleeping habits. Lack of rest among family members causes anxiety and irritability. These last two conditions trigger arguments, accusations, and emotional tension in people.
  2. Shouting and verbal conflicts are more and more frequent. The more intense the situation of a stressed family, the more yelling and disagreements that take place. Softening your tone of voice and reducing the volume are effective actions in moments of tension. In these circumstances, it’s best to take a deep breath and give each other a hug.
  3. Family members avoid family dinner time. When a person in the family is stressed, they tend to avoid gathering times. A good idea to combat this alarm signal is to provide a pleasant moment during dinner. Have each person in the family write something positive about those who are present at the table. Put each phrase in a basket and read it out loud before you start eating.
  4. There are conflicts at work or at school. Stress affects the ability to focus and organize your time. If someone in the family begins to show difficulties in carrying out their work or academic activities, the situation requires attention. It’s important to identify the actions that trigger stress and reach agreements to manage them in a healthy way.
  5. Daily routines are too hectic. Running through life from activity to activity makes the family anxious. Stress and anxiety bring physical consequences such as muscle tension or digestive problems.

Remember that you always need to press the pause button in your routine in order to take a breath and get on with your day.

The signs of stress in children

Children can become more stressed than their parents if situations aren’t handled properly.

  • Changes in eating routine: Eating much more or less than usual
  • Trouble falling asleep and nightmares
  • Abdominal pain and headaches
  • Poor interactions with parents, siblings, and play and study partners
  • Isolation in situations that require interaction
  • A decrease in academic performance
A toddler sitting at the dinner table looking stressed.

The signs of stress in teens

Teens don’t just get stressed out by family circumstances. Their social life, extracurricular activities, and the changes they experience also make them susceptible to stress. So, the signs of stress in teens are as follows:

  • Changes in sleeping, eating, and daily activities routines
  • An increase in or the appearance of risky behaviors (consumption of alcohol, nicotine, or other stimulants)
  • Constant symptoms of physical and emotional discomfort
  • Expression of feelings of worry, sadness, confusion, anguish, and anger


Parents arguing in front of their children because they're stressed.

The signs of stress in adults

These often vary between men and women. The most important thing when it comes to identifying a stressed family is to perceive the changes in the typical attitudes and actions in each person.

  • Headache and back pain, weight gain or loss, and skin conditions
  • Excessive concentration on the situation that’s causing the stress
  • Loss of memory and attention
  • Lack of motivation for daily activities
  • Problems in the couple’s relationship
  • Excessive irritability, feelings of guilt, and depression

If you notice any of these signs in your family, it’s time to reverse the conflicts and turn them into opportunities that you can face together. Proper communication and the ability to express yourself freely are essential when it comes to avoiding having a family stressed that’s burdened by difficulties.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.