Sunday August 23, 2020
You’ve probably heard a lot about “helicopter parents” who hover around their child wanting to protect them and “lawnmower parents” who want to remove all of the obstacles placed in their kids’ path.
But the reality is that these parenting types may be doing their kids a disservice. Bad things happen and stress is a part of life. Instead of removing stressors and protecting them as if stress doesn’t exist, we should instead be focused on helping our children and teens learn how to manage their stress.
Here are some tips for parents to help their children learn how to manage stress:
- Stay physically healthy — One of the best ways to maintain mental and emotional health is to stay physically fit and active. By eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, you are able to produce hormones in the body that can better regulate our responses to stress. You should also encourage your child to get a full 8 hours (or more) of sleep on a regular schedule. This may be tough (especially with teens) but it can really make a difference.
- Encourage journaling — Most all mental health experts recommend journaling or allowing your child to write about what they are feeling. Many kids feel overwhelmed by stressful emotions but then they find that the act of putting their thoughts on paper can make them feel better and more in control.
- Model healthy stress management — If your children see you acting out of control and overly emotional because of stress, then they are going to think that is the proper way to cope. So, model how you want them to act when it comes to being stressed.
- Talk it out — Many times, especially with teens, you ask them what is bothering them and get a curt, “Nothing,” as a reply. You know your child. If you feel that they are depressed or stressed, do what you can to get them to open up. Talking through issues can have a huge impact on reducing stress.
We all want our children to grow up to be productive adults who know how to function in this highly stressful world. By talking to your children about these techniques, you can give them the tools to do just that.