When you’ve had a difficult day, or a fight with your partner, you probably feel down on yourself. Maybe you blame someone for why you’re upset.
Either way, certain unpleasant feelings come up, and like many, you turn to alcohol, TV, social media, or food to deal with those unpleasant feelings. Then you end up feeling even worse, because you ate too much, wasted too much time on mindless entertainment, or turned to substances to cope.
You may even think there’s something wrong with you.
Maybe in those times, you wish you had better coping skills when you’re angry, scared, or feeling alone and depressed. And you may look at your kids and think that you want them to grow up to have better coping skills, too. As a parent, you may wonder if teaching a child coping skills is even effective. Is it as simple as showing them healthier options for how to deal with their feelings when they’re upset?
How do you teach a child coping skills that will prevent them from turning to addictions and other forms of destructive, counterproductive behavior, now and in the future?
Teaching a child coping skills isn’t what you think it is. It actually begins with doing or saying things to your child that helps them develop positive self-beliefs instead of negative ones.
Do you ever tell yourself that you’re lazy? Or a slob? Or that what you have to say is unimportant? Or that you’re powerless, so you may as well go along with things?
Do you ever feel like you’re not enough?
According to parenting expert, Shelly Lefkoe, many people, grew up with parents who led them to conclude negative things about themselves, such as that they’re lazy, powerless or a failure.
Teaching a child coping skills back when we were children may have been more about how to act appropriately, rather than what it’s REALLY about: instilling positive beliefs in the child.
Having coping skills, whether they’re healthy or dysfunctional, is better than NOT having any. Teaching a child coping skills is important, but what’s even better is instilling positive beliefs in your child, so they don’t even need that many coping skills in the first place.
If your child grows up to feel good enough, and powerful, and lovable, they will have less anxiety and pain to deal with when life gets difficult, because they won’t feel like there’s something wrong with them.
Give your child every advantage in life not so much by teaching a child coping skills, but by instilling empowering, positive beliefs in your child by the way you talk to your child.
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Empower your child to be a happy adult.