Kids that are over parented can have poor Coping Skills.

th-2The best way to teach your teen good coping skills is by literally backing off and giving them some room.  Let your children think through solutions when they are dealing with a challenge or problem. I see coping skills as falling into the “street smarts” category.  They aren’t something that one will learn at school. Coping skills are something that one needs to practice and exercise often in order to acquire and master. Parents can practice (and guide) good coping skills with teens to see how they handle certain situations. Some ideas your teen has will be effective and other will not. But that’s ok… this is how they learn. They need to problem solve, become more resourceful and at the very core…. learn self-reliance.  Otherwise, they will look to you every time they deal with a challenge.  What will they do when you aren’t around?  How will they handle peer pressure, an emergency or a difficult conflict?

I was working with a teen client the other week, who became unraveled over a particular conflict she was dealing with that day.  Now, her reaction to the situation seemed a bit over the top, but that’s ok…..she’s a teen and her feelings are valid. I was sympathetic and there to listen. However, I found myself falling into the trap of “problem solving” for this teen because she seemed so distraught. I thought I needed to “fix it” for her. As expected, she kept telling me why every solution I had wouldn’t work and so I kept coming up with more ideas, only to have each new one rejected by her again and again.  Finally I stopped, looked at her and said: “You are very upset about this and I understand. I’m happy to help, but it’s up to you to figure out what that best solution should be. I’m here as a resource and a sounding board.” She actually stopped playing the “victim” and started to think through some solutions herself when I gave her the “green light” to take the lead.

Remember, teens need encouragement and space to think through the pros and cons associated with different outcomes.  It’s not up to you (as a parent) to provide them with all the solutions.  We need more quick thinkers; people who can resolve their own issues without chaos and drama. Parents who allow their children to take the lead on their own issues (within reason) tend to have less anxious children  And the opposite is true as well. Kids that are over parented tend to have poor coping skills.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s