Teaching your child coping skills for wellbeing
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Being young isn't easy. The teenage years are accompanied by a number of stressors and significant life stages. Throw into the mix the hormonal changes that accompany puberty and an increasing need to fit in with their peers, and it's no wonder that young people often find their adolescent years stressful and overwhelming.
It's never too early (or too late) to learn how to cope with the situations life throws at you and there are a few simple things you can share with your child to as advice on coping, as well as steps you can take as a parent to be supportive.
7 tips to help your child cope with life
1. Talk it out
Create a safe space for your child to speak up by letting them know that you'll be supportive and won't just dismiss their feelings. Even though what they're going through may not seem like a big deal to you, keep in mind that it's very real for them.
It's also important not to force your child to speak to you if they really don't want to. Don't take it personally. Instead, let them know that you're there to help them in whatever way makes them feel most comfortable, which might be by encouraging them to speak to someone else they trust, such as a friend or another family member.
2. Take a break
Taking active time out from something that's causing distress is a great way to refocus thoughts and energy. If your child is having difficulty coping, let them know that taking it easy from time to time isn't being lazy; it's very healthy, especially if they've been experiencing a hard time.
3. Do something they love
Encouraging your child to participate in activities they enjoy, such as listening to music, taking a walk, or hanging out with friends, can help lower stress and put them in a positive mindset.
4. Eat well and exercising
Physical health has a big impact on mental health. Ensure that your child is eating healthy, nutritious meals that will help their body support them through tough times. Exercise can also be beneficial by releasing tension and increasing energy levels.
5. Use relaxation techniques
Teach your child some relaxation techniques that can help with relieving stress.
6. Engage in positive self-talk
Let your child know that it's okay to feel good about who they are — and even to congratulate themselves on their own achievements, regardless of how big or small they are. Encourage them to talk about what they like about themselves, to help increase their positive mindset and motivation, and to be mindful of their achievements and skills (even to write them down) as a regular reminder of their strengths.
7. Model positive coping behaviours
A really great way to show your child what positive coping skills look like is to model the behaviours yourself. Confide in your child about times you've found it hard to cope, and share with them the positive strategies that worked for you. This will not only make them feel less alone, but will also reinforce the importance of seeking help.
Life can sometimes be hard to cope with, especially if you're a kid. But arming your child with a few skills that will help them to deal with issues and feel better about themselves will make growing up a lot easier.
ReachOut is Australia's leading online health website for young people and their parents. Working with registered counsellors, psychologists and mental health professionals ReachOut provides online self-help tools that are used by over 1.5 million Australians each year. A valuable resource for many parents, teens and young adults.
This content includes the views and opinions of a third-party, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Suncorp. Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, personal situation or needs.