A child’s life often seems carefree, but parents sometimes forget that children have problems, too. Kids Health reminds parents that even preschoolers are not immune to stress and older children often experience anxiety due to school, work and social situations. By providing support and effective tools for managing stress, you can encourage positive coping skills.
The Power of Talk
Talking about problems helps put things into perspective. Kids Health advises parents that talking can take some of the pain out of a negative situation. If you sense your child has a problem, don’t dismiss it, no matter how trivial it seems to you. Give your child a listening ear. Listening not only helps your child feel better about his problem, but it helps teach him that talking things out is a coping tool. HelpGuide advises that children sometimes struggle verbalizing their feelings . The website suggests teaching your child words to help him verbalize his emotions. A good phrase for your child to use to express himself is "I feel upset (or scared, nervous, sad) when..." Your child will finish the sentence with whatever problem he is facing.
Many schools offer programs to teach children various ways to cope with their problems. The website Coping Skills for Kids claims that these programs help children understand and manage their coping abilities. The site adds that these simple programs are especially effective for preteens. The leaders of these programs teach the children how to cope with problems before they enter the emotionally turbulent teenage years. By calling the administrative office of your child’s school you can find out if the school your child attends offers a program of this nature. You can also ask your child’s physician if she can recommend a program in your area.
Many adults deal with the pressures of everyday life by hitting the gym or going for a run. These coping skills work for kids and teenagers as well. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends exercise and a healthy lifestyle as a coping tool for teenagers. Exercise releases an endorphin in the brain that relieves stress. Exercise also gives kids (and adults) a break from focusing on their problems. Simple relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, also help children cope with stress. The AACAP also advises kids to avoid excess caffeine. The drug can increase anxiety.