Life is hard sometimes. We learn to adapt and change as we go. It can be daunting for us as adults to cope, but it can be especially difficult for children. Because they aren’t necessarily equipped to manage stress, anxiety or depression, it’s essential to implement adolescent appropriate therapy to help guide children towards the best coping strategies. Today, we’re going to discuss three instances of life events that may have a significant impact on your children, and may warrant enrollment into a quality therapy program.
Death in the Family
Dealing with a death in the family, whether sudden or expected is difficult for everyone. Children sometimes have a harder time understanding the concept of death, heaven or how to deal with a loved one dying. While you may have tried your best to explain the situation, there may be lingering feelings and uncertainties that your child will need help with navigating. Don’t assume the child is ok. Instead, suggest a feelings journal and open dialogue. If necessary, consult a professional for therapy.
Divorce or Separation
If you’re facing a divorce or separation from your spouse, it is imperative that you communicate with your children, in a child-appropriate manner, about the situation. Children will inherently assume they are responsible for the changes to the family dynamic. To help them cope with change independently, enroll them in adolescent therapy, no matter their age. While you may be doing your best to protect them from the adult conversations and unrest, they will sense every feeling and moments of tension. Protect them from the details and allow a therapist to help them cope and discern their emotions in a positive way.
If your children are school-aged, they may struggle with changes due to a new job, new house, new state and new school. It is our job as parents to maintain a safe home environment that they can come to rely on during their adolescent years. Sometimes life happens, and you have to move, which may cause anxiety or resentment with the children. Younger children may not understand the need for a new job requiring relocation or financial issues that may cause a family to downsize from a house to an apartment. Try not to burden them with the details or negative consequences that led to the move. Instead, promote it positively, as a fresh start and consider therapy to help them appropriate their feelings about the changes.
Children are exceptionally resilient about changes in life. They’re young, and their perceptions of the environment around them are often basic and routine. Changes, however, can foster feelings of confusion, resentment, sadness or depression. Know that you’re not alone and asking for the right help can make all the difference in your child’s ability to adequately cope with those changes. For ideas on how to shepherd your children through tough times, contact us at Stonebriar Counseling Associates.