While we’re in the holiday season, it’s impossible to forget that we’re still in the middle of COVID—and all the anxiety and fear that comes with it.
And adults aren’t the only ones feeling those emotions. Kids can be suffering too, but there are ways we as parents can help build resilience in the face of serious challenges.
Mental Health Connection of Tarrant County is leading an initiative called Recognize and Rise—a campaign designed to educate the public on trauma, toxic stress and adversity while raising awareness of local resources and expertise to boost well-being.
Recognize and Rise partnered with Dr. Ken Ginsburg—a pediatrician, professor of pediatrics and the author of Building Resilience in Children: Giving Kids Roots and Wings—to help DFW parents better equip their kids to cope with challenges.
Here are Ginsburg’s tips for helping kids through the ongoing pandemic and building skills that will serve them throughout their lives.
Stress self-forgiveness, empathy and understanding.
Even before COVID, we were all feeling the pressure—at work, at school and in our relationships. Ginsburg says the key to overcoming that pressure is to let go of guilt and not lose faith in our own abilities. Those are learned skills, and your kids learn them from you. When they see you forgive yourself for your own mistakes, it reassures them that you would offer them the same compassion.
You can also show them that it’s possible for them to support others while managing their own difficulties.
Teach children to acknowledge, process and release emotions.
Let kids see how you work through things. Ginsburg emphasizes that if parents create stability within the home and teach their children to channel their emotions into something constructive, they can better protect them from the chaos outside.
Act as a calming presence.
Model serenity for your kids. Teach them how to keep their cool and be clear and honest with themselves—and others—about their feelings.
Help them learn to adapt.
There is a lot we can’t control. Of course, we can control our reactions when things don’t go our way. In these moments, says Ginsburg, allow your children to feel disappointment. Then you can hug them and make sure they know you’ll always be there. He notes that young people thrive when they know they are loved unconditionally and that their parents will stand by them no matter what.
Share the joy of service.
Kids are (kind of) naturally wired to think about themselves. But when you help your children see what a difference they can make in others’ lives, you are better preparing them to face adversity. Ginsburg explains that they’ll understand the power of relying on human connection to make it through tough times.
Learn more about the community resources available through Recognize & Rise. If your child is dealing with a particularly distressing incident, check out the tips in our story How To Help Your Children Deal with a Traumatic Situation.
Image courtesy of iStock.