Helping Kids Deal with Stress – MBFLP 270

We adults may feel like we’re under stress all the time, but we can’t overlook the fact that our kids are suffering, too! Last episode we talked about how we respond when we’re confronted with uncertainty and unpleasant news. How can we help our kids deal with the disruptions of life on their level?

Lest We Forget

Parents have had to make a lot of adjustments the past two years. Our kids are dealing with some of the same issues, from their own perspective. That may be school closures or other changes in their educational routines. It may be uncertainty over adult issues, like lost of employment, quarantines, or restrictions on travel or social gatherings. Even if everything comes from the same root cause, like the pandemic, its impact will be felt differently from one family to the next — and from one family member to the next.

Over the years, we’ve had a share of uncertainty and unhappy events — medical emergencies, job changes, relocations, disrupted plans. With a large family, and one that travels with us most of the time, we had to realize that we couldn’t hide much from the kids. It seemed better to us to share our concerns, in child-sized portions, so they could understand why things were “wrong” right then.

Our kids are not clones

We need to remember that our kids are individuals – maybe with a lot of commonalities, but still with their own approach to the world around them. A quiet child may be full of turmoil inside, while the noisy one may actually be calmer after venting all his drama. Consider that, as you answer and counsel the outspoken child, other siblings may be listening and learning without asking. Just don’t overlook the ones who aren’t “in your face”!

Younger kids need reassurance. Are Mom and Dad going to be here for me? Do they have a plan to deal with things? Are they safely in charge still?

Teenagers can often step into some adult roles. We found that in moments of crisis, our teens were able to pick up some of their parents’ concerns — running errands, doing more household tasks, taking more responsibility for themselves and their younger brothers and sisters.

Watch out for the middle kids, though. Often they are old enough to understand some of the needs, but too young to do much to help. It can be very frustrating for them! Look for tasks they can do, even if they’re not major burdens to the adults. Your middle school kids are likely to be much more capable than you think (check out our book No Longer Little for more ideas and encouragement!).

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But what about the conclusion?

What happens when the pressure’s relieved? Count on it – family members which have “held it together” for the team while the crisis is underway, will often come unglued when the emergency is over. It’s best to plan on some time to re-adjust to “normal” when you’ve been through a time of stress. Give yourself and everyone around you an extra measure of grace – a heaping serving of it, in fact. If you expect there to be a time of transition, you can move into it with some care – rather than experiencing “explosive decompression” that causes problems for everyone!

Passages We Referenced

Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Matthew 10:29-31 (Jesus)“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Galatians 6:2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

James 1:2-4My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Resources You Might Appreciate

No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens with Grace and Hope by Hal and Melanie Young

Eleanor Porter’s Pollyanna and Pollyanna Grows Up – audiobooks narrated by Melanie Young

 

 


 

A Special Thank You to Our Network Sponsor:  Courageous Movie

 

From the Kendrick Brothers, creators of the No. 1 box-office movie WAR ROOM and OVERCOMER, comes the remastered re-release of COURAGEOUS Legacy, in theaters September 24. Celebrating 10 years of impact on families and fathers, this updated version of the film includes new scenes and an enhanced look and sound.

Filled with action-packed drama, COURAGEOUS Legacy will once again have viewers laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children. Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That’s courageous.

Check out the trailer here!


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