The importance of coping skills for our little people.

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As a systemic therapist, I work with a wide variety individuals, including school age kids and adolescents.

Teaching the young people in our lives how to handle conflict, emotions, life transitions, loss, love, and everything in between is such an ambiguous concept at times, but it’s crucial. It’s important to have conversations about how kids deal with things now. “Taking a walk” “playing with your pet” “breathing exercises” seems super basic and “common sense” to adults. But feeling stressed in the classroom and over minor things quickly transitions to being stressed out with a full course load at college or stressed out at work. Then life happens; breakups happen, death happens, financial stress happens, family conflict happens. Some people figure out what works for them and can handle life’s obstacles based on the cards they were dealt. But there are others who struggle to cope with their situations. People may lack an awareness of their trigger points. Or some people may pick coping skills that are maladaptive like codependent relationships, drugs, workaholism, self sabotage, avoidance, oversleeping, overspending, & over eating. They may not feel comfortable effectively asserting boundaries, expressing their emotional needs and emotions, or saying no to things they do not want to do. They may not clearly understand the functions of their behaviors and understand why life is so hard for them.

•there are no definitive answers or right/wrong way to learn about how to live and grow up. But every time I look at a little face and say “what do you do when you’re feeling stressed?” There’s more to it then just wondering whether they know if they can take a walk or play with their pet. It’s about instilling the message into them that if things aren’t okay, there are ways to make it better, and empowering them to become resourceful enough to know they have more control over their situations then they realize.

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