Healthy Ways of Coping with Upset and Other Challenging Emotions

Have you and your child created your list?

Creating a healthy coping strategies list with your family is easy and comforting. After all, it can mean the difference between destructive behaviors during upsetting times or a set of options for a healthy calming down process. You might begin the conversation at a family dinner or another time when you are at home with no time pressures. You might ask, “What helps you to feel better when you are upset?” and start generating ideas. Have your child or teen write and/or draw their favorite calming down activities. In fact, each family member can create their own since different activities will be calming to different people. Learn from one another as you share your ideas. Mom may need to expel physical energy by walking outside while a teen may need to be alone and quiet with her journal. Post these ideas somewhere convenient to your main living spaces so that when upset occurs, you can offer a gentle reminder to consult their list.

Of course, healthy coping is ONLY a start! Once your child or teen has had the chance to calm down then it’s just as important to follow up and reflect on the thoughts, feelings and actions involved. If harm was caused to self or others, then that reflection needs to include generating ideas of steps they can take to repair harm to the relationship damaged.

We offer a big thank you to our partners at the National Parent Teacher Association for translating our healthy coping strategies example into Spanish! Here it is… and check out our many parenting tools now in Spanish!

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