Managing Crisis. Even the words can make a person pause. Each of us responds based on our definition of crisis. For some it’s car troubles, for others it means health concerns. Even now, many families are dealing with the public health crisis of Covid-19. The stressors are multiple. Especially now, as you and your adolescent are making decisions about a return to school. Of course, you both want life to be as normal as it was a year ago. Truth be told, there was no normal then. There’s no normal this year either. The potential for increased anxiety and a crisis seem greater.
This is the time to remember all you’ve learned about managing crises, small and large. Looking back to recall past tough times helps with planning ahead. That involves forecasting the options you have for coping. The first step to Cope Ahead is to pause, slow down, take a breath. Take another, releasing it slowly. Check in with your emotional state. If you’re still tense or anxious, allow yourself more quiet breaths, remembering the reminder to be gentle with yourself. Your life experience means you’ve gathered information on how to cope with lots of situations. Think and then focus on the last one that went well for you. This boosts confidence.
Now time to plan your Cope Ahead steps. First, identify the potential crisis. You’re worried about your kid either getting ill, being harmed, or doing self-harm. Part of coping ahead is to survey the situation. Has your adolescent’s school instituted learning options and astute health measures? Have there been teen crises of any kind in your area during the last year? Has your family’s health, finances, or living situation been affected by the pandemic? How’s everyone doing with each other? Some families are quite stressed and others have found meaning in more time together. Chances are a lot of families are somewhere in the middle.
After you have thought through these questions and come up with your own, jot down any ideas that have bubbled up with how to cope. Which ones pop out at you? Don’t hesitate or judge them; it’s time to accept your inner knowing, your wise mind.
Next step is to talk with your teen. Keep it simple, be open, and listen a lot. Let them know about the focus of your Cope Ahead planning. Before getting into the steps you’ve taken, ask what’s on their mind about the coming days and weeks. Then observe. The silence or bursting forth of pressures and worries. Remember to breathe, and ask your child to do the same. Pause. Ask them which concern is in the middle. Not the hardest or easiest to deal with. Talk about the middle one, gently sharing your own planning process. Let them know their process will be their own. And you’re there to be with them, each step of the way.
At Mindful Healing, we are here to talk with you and your teen about managing crisis and the many benefits of developing Cope Ahead skills. To learn more contact us here.