Helping Children Develop Coping Skills
I can’t say it enough: teach kids problem-solving, coping skills from a very early age. If your child has developed problem solving skills but lost access to them because they are depressed periodically, you have to help them regain access to those skills. So how do you do this? Here are some suggestions for ways to help you coach your child through it:
Help Kids Identify Coping Skills:
When you ask a teen or pre-teen, “What are your coping skills,” if he can say, “Oh, I go to my room. I listen to some music, I count to ten, i hit the karate bag” that’s good because he understands that coping is a skill, not an art or magic. And once you teach kids that behavior is a skill, the next step is to get them to identify problems and develop the behavioral tools to deal with them. And so it becomes, “You’re feeling sad, you’re feeling depressed, what can we do about that problem? What would you find helpful?” It gives you a place to stand where you can both begin talking about how to solve the problem of feeling sad.
Keep Them Busy:
When people are depressed, kids as well as adults, they still have to meet their responsibilities. You may want to consider Martial Arts. Martial arts is fun, teaches problem solving, shows kids how to support and help each other and promotes creativity. A good martial arts instructor knows that we all face challenges and we must learn to face them with a positive attitude.
As far as responsibilities go, maintain the same expectations. They will probably need more support to perform at the same level. Know that you have to give them more opportunities to regroup. Once again a good martial arts program can help because it’s not a dreaded task but a positive and one, The instructors will know how to handle and motivate your child to learn, practice and train. Being part of a team of students show the importance of responsibility when everyone has their role and tasks.
Why a Quiet Room is Important:
Children who are depressed often exhibit distractibility and impaired concentration, so it’s important to get them in a soothing environment. Don’t try to have a talk with them about their behavior or about their coping skills when a lot of other distractions are present. If possible, take your child into a room where there are no distractions and let them calm down before opening a conversation about why they’re upset. And let your child know that you’re willing to listen to them and talk with them about what’s making them sad. You can say, “We won’t force you to talk if you don’t want to, but we’re here.”
Recognize That Moodiness is Part of Growing Up:
The philosophy of martial arts is that it’s not what happens to you but how react to what happens that makes the difference. Teacher show that your attitude is what determines how we feel when life throws us a challenge. Students learn that they can choose how then feel,that they are not controlled by external events.
“Everyone Gets Sad Sometimes.”
Let your child know that we all have periods of feeling down, that problems can seem overwhelming to everyone at times. Then have his or her martial arts instructor talk to them about self control in different situations. Learning self control in self defense, when being bullied or teased is important not only is self defense but is practiced continuously in training.
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