Parents are their child’s primary therapist. We listen, we support, we guide, and hopefully help our kids become vibrant, balanced, blissful, independent adults. Stress isn’t an “adult only” problem. Here are some approaches you can take when kids are miserable.
Can’t solve everything today. Help your child decompress, even if just for an hour. Ask for their help or input. Change the topic. Run a quick errand together or go the mall; get some exercise together, or ask for help on a chore. Focus on anything else. Talk about current events.
Develop your comedy skills. Share a quirky family story or gossip. There’s more going on in life than the problems at school, on the athletic field, or at work. Just start finding things to giggle about every day. Then share ‘em!
Change the channel, change the scenery, but get your depressed, anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed child out of their usual place. Novelty is interesting. Plan a “day trip” somewhere. Go to a new diner or a new park. Just take them, literally, away from and out of their misery.
Whatever the source of the problem, divide the action plan (the solution) into small pieces. Manageable ones. This, of course, assumes that you’ve thought of potential steps to take, which your child may or may not have agreed to, or see as possible. No worries. Bring your planning down to the smallest fraction of action that she can or will buy into.
The biggest gift we give our children, also the most significant memory and legacy, is that they are loved. Unconditionally. Say it. Show it. Again and again and again. Out loud. Praise, be optimistic, and help them find a “good thing” every day.