Ten ways to build healthy coping skills

Pathwoods (2)Healthy coping skills are an important part of stress management for teens. Parents can help their teen strengthen their ability to lead an emotionally healthy lifestyle and best manage feelings of stress, anxiety, anger, hurt, disappointment and sadness by promoting healthy coping skills.

1. Teach your teen relaxation techniques to fall asleep, strategies for getting up in the morning and encourage consistent routines.

2. Deep breathing exercises can be helpful for relaxation.

3. Help your teen break large tasks (school work and/or chores) into smaller portions.

4. Remind your teen to work on doing their best, not perfection.

5. Help your teen enhance their ability to develop backup plans and support if the first solution they created doesn’t work. Encourage them to think of two or three people who can help with any plan they created.

6. Assess and ensure that your teen has a support network of people (friends, teachers, coaches, siblings, etc.) that they can rely on during difficult times.

7. Suggest that your teen schedules relaxation time (exercise, play, extra-curricular activities) every day.

8. Ask the school for extra books or materials to be kept at home. Having a second copy at home can lessen a teen’s worry and stress level about forgetting books or materials to complete homework and projects at home.

9. Collaborate with your teen to plan activities to create and maintain structure on days not usually structured like the weekends, holidays and summer vacation. The rationale behind establishing structure these days is that changes in routine can often be difficult. Establishing organization and structure can reduce the impact of the change in routine.

10. Talk with your teen about their coping skills (exercise, music, writing, etc.), and brainstorm about when to use those skills.

If you are worried about your teen, call your pediatrician. If you feel your teen is in immediate crisis, call 911 or the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Learn more about depression.