Coping skills

Everyone experiences different levels of stress, and has different ways of coping. There is no “right” way to cope. Different strategies work for different people.

Youth Mental Health Coping SkillsSome coping strategies are, however, seen as less beneficial, because they reduce stress temporarily, but don’t reduce it in the long run (and often have other negative impacts).

Reasons young people feel stress:

Positive coping skills are any strategies that reduce stress effectively, without future backlash.

Building coping skills

Try taking the following actions to help your son or daughter deal with difficulties they may face.

  • Challenge negative self-talk: model positive self-talk and challenge your son or daughter’s negative self-talk e.g. “I’m not going to football cause I’m crap”. Positive self-talk helps us see things from a more positive perspective and gives us a huge boost of confidence.
  • Power of talking: encourage your son or daughter to talk to someone they trust. It can be good to work though things with the help of another person and know they have support.
  • Relax: help your son or daughter to relax and take some time out during a stressful situation. Relaxation is a great way to refocus thoughts, particularly when things are becoming a bit overwhelming.
  • Distraction: do something to help get their mind off things for a while e.g. go out, spend time together. Distraction can be a healthy thing and provides some perspective. It also helps them from replaying events and blowing things out of proportion.
  • Get involved: encourage your son or daughter by providing them with opportunities to get involved in other enjoyable activities, so they don’t focus exclusively on any problems they might have.
  • Part of life: despite what we think, everyone experiences loss, conflict and anxiety in their lives. Discussing the event/situation from this perspective will help your son or daughter realise others also experience similar difficulties and survive. This can, in turn, help them to feel more hopeful.

Look at how you deal with stress

Think about how you cope with difficult situations. Healthy adults develop a series of coping strategies to draw on when they experience stress.

Share your coping strategies with your son/daughter. It’s reassuring for them to know you had to develop strategies to overcome difficulties.


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