Parents play a vital role in the way children handle stress and crisis. Usually, children’s responses are going to be influenced by their parent’s reactions. If parents take a positive response, children will learn the same. Here are some examples of ways to do this. Some of these examples were inspired by an article on everydayhealth.com. When your child seems upset:

  • Take time to talk and make sure you really understand what the problem is.
  • Turn off the TV, internet, etc. Make sure they have your full attention
  • Let them know you are listening by brief comments, and repeating back what you hear them say
  • Let them know that feeling stressed and angry is normal and that all people feel that way
  • Give them security to know that you are going to take action to be a protection
  • Simply spend time with them so they have the chance to share these personal things.
  • It is helpful for some children to know schedules, children like structure

These are just some basic ways a parent can help their child when they appear stressed. It may be that they need to talk to someone outside the situation such as a counselor. Therapy gives children an opportunity to express things they may find difficult in other settings.

It is important to remember that all children will feel stressed and the way they initially learn how to deal with it is from parents. This is yet another way for parents to teach children.

Justin P. Lewis, MA, LMFT

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