Can You Teach Coping Skills to Your Kid?
“It is always possible to approach a goal by detour.” -Theodore Reik (American Psychologist)
As adults, we all know that stress is a normal part of life. Coping with stress encompasses a skill set that most kids learn through observing their parents. The skills necessary to cope with life are the same for adults as for children. This skill set often includes coping skills or stress management skills. Coping skills include many aspects, such as self-regulation, impulse control, frustration management, and anger management, among others.
In times of crisis, parents are often amazed to see how resilient their children are. We’ve heard news reports such as the resourceful young child who called emergency services when he found his mom experiencing a seizure on the kitchen floor. Then there’s the incredible story of a child who walked half a mile through snow and ice to find help after getting herself out of a car where her family was trapped. On the other hand, the same kids could totally surprise their parents by showing poor impulse control or lack of ability to manage their anger and frustration over misplacing their favorite toy. The difference is normal.
A kid’s developmental process
It is important to remember that kids don’t have the same level of foresight, problem solving, and mature self-regulation as do adults.
The fact is that kids’ brains are still in the process of maturation and development. Their insight and skills for self-control have not matured yet. Sure, they can be responsible and resourceful one moment, and then act like a kid who doesn’t know what to do in other moments This behavior is normal. The maturation process and brain development do not reach completion at age eighteen, when most people or laws define an individual as an adult.
How do you teach a child about effective and healthy stress management?
How do you teach your six-year-old about self control? How do you teach your nine-year-old about the concept of anger management? It can be an almost overwhelming challenge, but parents do it successfully every day, and so will you, by modeling for your kids. What are the other ways besides modeling? And how do you model positively and successfully?
In this series of articles I’d like to offer a few suggestions that can be helpful in teaching the skill set necessary to help your kids learn how to manage stress, anger and frustration, and how to cope with their feelings in a healthy way.
The first step is effective communication, which is where we’ll begin in the next article.
This is an excerpt from my book: “Create Happy Kids”
Dr. Sherkat is a parent strategist who is available to do Parent Education Workshops, either Private or PTA Sponsored Classes.
Contact her at 425-772-6698.