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coping-skills-for-kidsPreparing Your Child for Change             

Dealing with stress is hard enough for adults. When kids are confronted with change, they can lose control entirely. We've all seen the poor mom at the store with the screaming 3 year old. She's helpless against his rage, and we shuffle by trying not to make eye contact. It's easy to assume that she is to blame for her kid's outburst, but there may be issues that mere passersby can't even imagine. When it comes to coping skills for kids, every parent needs to aware of how to prepare our families for difficult times.



Dealing with the Stress and Fears of Children       

When your family is going through a divorce, death, move, serious illness or another challenging event, kids can suffer more than anyone else. To a child, "real life" is often far too intense and frightening. For most of their young lives, our kids are protected in a cocoon of half truths and imaginary friends. This is as it should be, but what do you tell your kids when something bad happens?

We can't protect our children from pain or death forever, but when change is inevitable, we can teach coping skills to help them deal with the transition. The best time to do this is before they need to use them—while they still feel safe and secure. Use the following techniques for teaching coping skills to prepare children for a major life change.

Coping Skills Techniques for Kids



It's tempting to put off telling a child that a beloved grandparent is dying or that mom and dad are getting divorced, but waiting until the last minute can truly harm your child's sense of security. Use your judgment about when to break the news. For young children, a few weeks' notice is plenty. Older kids deserve to know sooner.


Possibly the worst thing you can do to a child during a time of crisis is fail to explain what is happening or, even worse, lie about family problems. Children love to ask "why," for a reason. They need help connecting the dots and understanding cause and effect. It may be difficult, but you need to explain what is going on in terms the child can understand. If you can't think of the words, look to friends who have gone through something similar or even a mental health professional for guidance and ideas.


Even if you feel like life will never be the same, your child needs the reassurance that things will eventually get back to normal. Talk about the coming change and establish a timetable, even if there are no concrete dates, about what will happen next. Reassure the child that you love him and will be willing to help him and answer his questions whenever he needs you.

Find Support

Being there for your child means that your own emotional reserves will be taxed at a time when they are already running low. Now is not the time to be proud. Look for help wherever you can find it. Relatives, friends, neighbors, church congregations and hospital staff are all good sources of assistance. Reach out to those around you for the sake of your child. By letting them give to you, you'll have more to give to your child.
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