Location: Bradley Hospital

Bradley Hospital

Advice that Has Worked for Generations


Both parents and children need buffers from the stress caused by change. The best buffer is talking with someone who understands what you are experiencing.

Children need more. They want consistency, safety and predictability in their environment. They want to be with adults who understand their world.

Society has developed many rituals to reinforce feelings of consistency and safety. These rituals can help families and individuals through transitions and prepare for upcoming change.

For example:

  • Birthday parties celebrate new life stages and age demands.
  • Confirmations and bar mitzvahs signify adulthood and new responsibilities.
  • Proms, entrance exams and graduations are teenage milestones that mark transition.
  • Funerals help us cope with death and grief.

Rituals help us gain perspective. As our children encounter new challenges, we need to help them understand what lies ahead.

The important thing to remember is that challenges have a positive side. By working through them with your child, you develop a "language" and experience base for dealing with new emotions and life events.

If a problem is new for you, too, it helps for your children to see you turning to other resources for help-friends, relatives, books, professionals or support groups. You teach important life skills and demonstrate how to reach out for support and solve problems.

Additional Coping Guidelines

father son

For Yourself:

  • Accept yourself.
  • Eat and sleep well.
  • Don't dwell on the past-let go of anger and hurt.
  • Break big goals into small ones.
  • Nurture your relationships with your spouse or other adults. Create a weekly parent's night out.
  • Take time to relax.
  • Spend time with people you like.
  • Don't over-worry about your children.
  • Exercise.
  • Do something nice for someone else.

For Your Children:

  • Show them options.
  • Make sure they eat and sleep well.
  • Explain in words they can understand.
  • Acknowledge their feelings.
  • Supervise television choices.
  • Don't talk about problems that are above their level of understanding.
  • Set boundaries; make clear what is acceptable behavior.
  • Allow them to make their own decisions within an acceptable range of options.
  • Do something you and your child both enjoy.