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All Ages

Asking for Help as a Parent

Parenting doesn’t have to be a “do-it-yourself” proposition.  In the “Building Strong Families” study, parents told the Search Institute that these things would help them as parents: 

Coping Strategies to Reduce Stress

Learn to recognize when a child or teen is stressed-out.  Are they getting enough sleep?  Are they eating well-balanced meals?  Do they have time to relax, have fun, do things they enjoy just for the fun of it? 

Increasing Resilience in Kids

One of the best things we can do to decrease the risk that a child will struggle emotionally, socially, or academically is to build resiliency.  

Building resiliency also decreases the risk that kids will engage in risky behaviors like alcohol and drug use, early sexual activity, and skipping school. 

Actions you can take to increase resilience:

Risk Factors for Social and Emotional Problems

Mental and emotional health is shaped by experiences, especially in early childhood.  Genetic and biological factors also play a role.  Risk factors refer to things that increase the likelihood that a child will experience emotional challenges. 

Experiences that put kids at increased risk include:

Do Kids Really Have Mental Health Concerns?

When we hear the words mental health, we often think immediately of mental health problems but mental health refers to our overall psychological well being including how we feel about ourselves, the quality of our relationships, and our ability to manage our feelings and deal with difficulties.  Like physical health, it is important at all stages of our life.  And, like physical health there are lots of things we can do ourselves to encourage good mental health and there is h

Healthy Relationships

Social skills are very important building blocks for creating healthy relationships with friends, teachers, neighbors, and others with whom they come in contact.  As children get older, their peers have greater influence over them.  That influence can be either positive or negative. 

Teaching Understanding and Empathy

Empathy, the ability to read and understand other people’s feelings is one of the most important social and emotional skills. 

Model empathy by listening to and respecting your child’s feelings 

“I know you wish we could stay at the park longer.  It’s hard for you to leave before you’re ready.”  “I realize that you don’t like meatloaf but Mom works hard to put dinner on the table and I want you to sit and eat with the rest of the family without complaining.”  "I know you're angry with me for not letting you go to the game." 

Helping Kids Recognize, Manage and Express Their Feelings

Adults play a major role in children’s ability to identify, understand and express their feelings.  When spending time with kids, think about the ways you can model and teach them to recognize, name, and express their feelings in healthy ways. 

Ask children how they feel. When you ask, you send the message that feelings are important and that you care. 

Helping a Child who is Bullying Others

If you are concerned a child may or has been bullying others, focus on helping him or her learn positive behaviors.  Talk about why he or she is bullying others to learn about any underlying issues that may be causing it.  Make it clear that bullying is wrong.  Set clear, non-violent consequences such as removal from the situation, loss of privileges, etc. 

When a Child is Being Bullied

Adults sometimes underestimate the emotional pain children experience when they are bullied.  Even children who are not directly bullied are harmed by witnessing bullying.  They can feel powerless to stop it, fear they might be next, or see that people who bully sometimes do get their way. 

Remind the child that the bully is the one with the problem - it's not their fault.