Tip #2 for Helping Children with Stress

By Gaylyn Williams, , , , , , With 0 comments

Note: if you don’t have children at home, who do you know who could benefit from this? Please pass this on.

A couple of weeks ago we talked about recognizing stress in children. Once you recognize it you can help them by drawing them out so they can talk about it. Talking it out may help them to avoid acting it out. Putting their feelings into words helps to calm them.

Drawing out works with children from about 3 years of age. Here are three ways to draw your child out. They can be combined.
1. Questions. This should be used sparingly!
“How are you feeling right now?”
“What happened to make you upset?”
“Do you want to tell me what’s going on?”

2. Self-disclosure. Try to decide what you might feel in that situation.
“If my sister broke my toy I’d really feel hurt and angry.”
“I sure would be disappointed if I couldn’t go to the party.”
“I’m so sad that your pet died.”

3. Tentative guesses.
“That remark had to hurt terribly.”
“You sure seem to be feeling sad today.”
“It looks like you’re having a hard time right now.”

4. Combinations of the above.
“You must be terribly frustrated about that. I know I sure would.”
“I want to hear how you’re doing right now. Do you want to talk about it?”
“This has to be very confusing for you. I would feel the same way.”
“You look stressed out. Want to talk about it?”

Warning! Your response to their attempts to verbalize their feelings is all-important. Try to respond with empathy, regardless of your feelings. Don’t criticize, belittle, laugh, downplay their feelings, minimize the issue, show shock, or even give advice at this stage. The slightest show of these kinds of responses can destroy their safety in expressing emotions.

In an upcoming blog,  we’ll share ideas on how to help children resolve their stress.

You can get more tips to manage stress for free by signing up at www.Stress-Management-Tips.us. All Stressed Up and Everywhere to Go has helpful ideas in every chapter on how to help children handle stress.

This article is by Ken Williams.