Sunday, March 30, 2014

How to Help Your Kids Have Healthy Coping Mechanisms

No matter what age humans are, we begin to develop methods for coping with the stresses in our lives that can be either healthy or unhealthy. Some of these coping mechanisms begin to take shape when our children are young and can lead to more serious coping mechanisms as they grow. While they are young, it is important to help kids understand their emotions and help give them healthy coping mechanisms that they can easily tap into when met with something that makes them feel overwhelmed or out of control. Here are a few suggestions for preparing your kids to cope with stress.

Create a Safe Space to Talk
Children need to learn at a young age that they can safely express even their most vulnerable feelings to someone – and get help if they’re encountering something they feel they can’t handle. If your children don’t open up to you – which happens often for parents – finding a mentor or a counselor might be a helpful tactic. Kids will learn that they can safely trust an adult to help and can also learn how to solve their own problems through communication and honesty.

Understand Triggers
There may be certain stressors or triggers that cause your children to react in a certain way. If left unaddressed, these things can lead to serious problems down the line, such as a difficult anger problems, or even substance abuse. If your children are older and you’re already concerned about substance abuse, take a look at signs and symptoms from New Jersey addiction treatment centers. You could even give them a call to see if they have any expert advice or suggestions, or to hear more about treatment programs for NJ prescription drug abuse treatment, alcohol abuse, or illegal drugs. If you suspect there’s a problem, don’t avoid it. Avoiding them just makes things worse.

Replace Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Help your children replace unhealthy coping mechanisms with healthy ones. For example, if you have a child who often gets so angry he or she can’t speak, it may be helpful to teach them some easy things they can do to release the anger before they hurt themselves or someone else. Counting to ten, leaving the room for a few minutes, or expressing the feeling with words can help. In addition, teaching your kids healthy daily rhythms, such as eating well, prayer, exercise, journaling, or other activities can them learn proactively that there are healthy outlets when they’re feeling overwhelmed.

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