June 2012

Your Parenting/Leadership TOOLKIT… [since 2003]
5 tips 2 help you child[ren] deal with daily stress of life

– de-stressed parents = de-stressed children –

Dear parents-2-b, moms, dads, caregivers, social workers, support group leaders, grandparents & educators of children between the ages of 0 to 18 years old.

 As a family preservation specialist and as parent of 2 boys I have made the choice to be aware of how to embrace and control stress before it controls me and my family.

Dealing with stress is a part of everyday life. But when several things occur at once that cause stress, it can be overwhelming to your child[ren]. By taking the time to help your child[ren] cope with stress, you are helping to keep it from progressing to more dangerous behaviors later on.Fact is: stressed parents = stressed children = stressed home.

1. Helping your Child Cope with Stress by Listening:

Sometimes the best thing we can do as parents to help our children, is just be there to listen. Your child[ren] want to feel independent. They don`t always need or want our advice. Just knowing that they have someone to talk to can be reassuring to them. Talking about their problem gives them a chance to hear it out loud and can help them come up with the answer on their own. I made it a habit to ask: “Before I listen, do you want my advice or opinion afterwards or do you want mom just to listen?”

 2. Helping your Child Cope with Stress by Offering Encouragement:

Let your child[ren] know that you are always there for him/her. Offer encouragement and reassurance without being negative or judgmental. Your child[ren] might have a tendency to focus on the negative instead of the positive, so try and limit any negative comments during stressful times.

 3. Helping your Child Cope with Stress by Being a Role Model:

If you are noticeably anxious, depressed, or have a major meltdown during stressful times, then odds are that your children will have the same reactions when they are stressed. How you cope with stress can also harm your credibility in your child`s eyes. If they see you freaking out when you are under stress, then they are not going to trust any suggestions or advice you give them about stress. So this is definitely a case of practice what you preach! I made it a habit of verbalizing to my family: “I need time-out. So I am going to step back from this situation and think about it before I react or say something that I might regret.” Guess what? Children see, children do.

 4. Helping your Child Cope with Stress by Providing Stability:

Stability at home can help alleviate some of the stress on your child[ren]. Constant changes can add to the child`s stress level. Try to be consistent in discipline and your daily routines.

 5. Helping your Child Cope with Stress by Teaching them Behaviors that can Decrease Stress:

There are things that can be done to help alleviate stress. Children see, children do, therefore walk your talk by:

Stay Positive; Exercise and eat healthy foods; Limit caffeine consumption; Don`t use drugs or alcohol; Do fun activities like listen to music, read a book, or go for a walk when you are stressed; Have a good support group; have positive friend

If the stress continues or worsens you may need to take your child to see a professional. Stress can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, self injury, depression, or suicidal thoughts. If you see any signs of this behavior, seek professional help for your child immediately.

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Have a great week! Go loud, go POSITIVE, go PROUD!