The Formative Years: Helping Your Child Cope With Worry
School can be a very stressful time for kids, especially those who are in a rigorous college prep program. Worrying is a natural yet concerning issue that many kids face while in their high school years. As a parent or loving adult, there are some things you can do to help them cope through this time in their lives:
Listen To Them
When you are talking to your children, take that opportunity to genuinely listen to them. Keep in mind that children of high school age are not always very open with the caring adults in their lives. When they open up to you, put away all distractions and truly listen to what they have to say. Do not jump in too quickly with a solution to whatever it is they are facing. Instead, offer advice and guidance so they can work through their concerns on their own.
When your child is facing a situation in which they need to take steps to solve an issue or reach a goal, help them develop a solution. Resist the urge to tell them what to do to come to a resolution. Instead, ask them a series of questions to guide them along in the process:
- What would help make this easier?
- What can you do to do to move forward?
- What is something you can try and solve this issue?
These empowering questions will help develop their confidence and grow their ability to solve problems.
Take a Break
Sometimes there is no immediate resolution for the issue your child is worried about. Stewing on the same ideas over and over will not get either of you where you need to be in the problem-solving process. Encourage your child to take a break and focus on something else for a while. Sometimes stepping back for a period of time can result in enlightening and reflecting thoughts that can help ease their worries.
Be a Model For Them
As the adult in their lives, one of the most important things you can do is model the behavior you wish to see in your child. Children can very easily pick up on the emotions of adults. If you seem worried, they are going to feel worried, too. Taking a calming approach to situations in your life can serve as a model for your child when they are facing similar issues.
If your child's worrying becomes obsessive to the point where you become concerned, reach out to the school to ask for guidance. They can help your child cope and help you develop a plan to support them. Click here for more info about helping your child to cope with stress.