Indirect stress is not a motivator and must be eradicated. This stress comes to the child from the parents. It is not derived from a problem that is due to the child’s own behavior. The child does not have any direct control over this stress. When the parents are feeling stress from a source other than the child, they must be motivated themselves and solve their own problem. If a child feels indirect stress, he will attempt to change his behavior in order to not feel it any more. This change in his behavior can take any form, negative or rigidly positive. This change is false because the child is not learning to overcome problems in order to overcome stress. This false change can be noticed if the child is acting out irregularly or in a heightened manner.
When Jeff became ill he had to take a leave of absence from work. He stayed in bed while his wife, Stephanie, took care of him and their child Zack. This was a stressful time for the couple. With Jeff off of work, they had to take out a loan to pay the bills. They were careful not to talk about problems in front of Zack, but tension could be felt everywhere in the home.
The couple was very stressed. Stephanie noticed that even though she did not change her style of parenting, Zack began to escalate in negative behavior. He did not respond to the usual directives. He also became upset over the littlest problem.
A month later, Jeff was able to return to work. Jeff and Stephanie were able to start paying off the loans they had accrued while Jeff was ill. Jeff and Stephanie began to feel relaxed. The tension in the home slowly dissipated.
Zack’s behavior also began to return to normal. Stephanie still did not change her parenting style, but Zack began to respond to it once again. Zack listened to her directives and did not get upset as easily as before.