How to Reduce Stress in Children Mindfully With Positive Coping Skills
It is not unusual for children to have stress or face stressful emotions too! Just like you, your child is capable of feeling a wide range of emotions- irrespective of their age.
Their surroundings, environment, peers, and siblings can have a deep impact on them
both positively or negatively.
We as parents have to accept that our children are capable of having certain emotions.
(as we often end up believing children do not feel or think like we do). Thus as a parent, it is imperative to teach your kids to deal with basic emotions like embarrassment, fear, anxiety, disappointment, boredom in a healthy manner.
Why is it Necessary?
If these emotions are not addressed in the right manner at the right time, they can build up into deep insecurities or even negative emotions, which is a major factor that adds to stress in children.
How can it be done?
Talk! It’s simple yet complicated at the same time. You might feel it is easy for your kid to approach and talk to you, but your child may feel otherwise. Most kids refrain from telling their problems to their parents due to the fear of being scolded or punished. Therefore,
the first step should be to provide a genuinely friendly and approachable environment for your child. Show by your actions and not words that your child can talk to you no matter how bad, ugly or embarrassing the situation is. Sort things out rationally instead of getting angry or threatening to punish your child the moment you realize he might have done something wrong. Let ‘you’ be a ‘safe place’ for your child to confide.
Once you and your child are comfortable talking to each other, more than half of your problems are already solved. Now that you know the problem let us have a look at few important steps you can take as a parent to solve these problems.
Simply put- coping skills are of two types-
Emotion-Focused and Problem Focused.
Emotion-Focused skills come to use when you or your child cannot change the situation. For instance, losing a game, not doing well in a test, or getting selected as a class monitor. Your child might be feeling disappointed or even angry. Address the feelings and explain to them that this is not a permanent situation.
The best thing to do in such situations is to channelize their energy into a positive manner. Take your child out for a play-date, encourage them to do something he likes such as drawing, singing, etc. Exercise or Yoga is also a wonderful alternative as it releases certain
hormones which instantly improve the mood.
Problem Focused skills are useful when you can change a situation, or
your kid has some control over the situation. Like dealing with a kid
who is bullying your child or if your child is body-shamed. Begin with asking your kid how they feel about the situation and if they would like to change the situation(Like
reporting the bully to the class teacher). Engage in problem-solving for your
child but also let them handle it as independently as possible.
Cocooning your kid or being overprotective at such times will only make them feel more
uncomfortable in future instances. Ask your child what can you do to make him or her feel better. Stay away from the Victim Mentality, do not let your child feel that they were the victim, no matter how bad the situation is.
Please understand that coping skills should be practised in moderation. Any skill is capable of becoming unhealthy if over-used. Like letting your child play games on an iPad after he or she has had a bad day is okay, but do not make it a habit so that your kid knows of no other way out! Also, sometimes, in spite of doing all of these things, your child still might not feel better. Consider talking to a therapist or your Pediatrician. Sometimes kids need some extra help to come out of the problems they have been facing. Therefore, never hesitate to ask for some help.
I hope you will find these tips useful and incorporate them when needed…
Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions (including content in any form) expressed within this post are those of the author alone. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The responsibility for intellectual property rights of this content rests with the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with him/her.