Like everything else when it comes to teaching children, it starts by modeling positive coping strategies on a consistent basis. Children are like sponges. They absorb everything, including how we adults cope with stress in our own lives. So, let’s be sure we are doing a good job of it.
We who work with, or care for, children must also realize that simply telling a child to stop a negative behavior is not effective. We must provide them effective tools for stopping. We must also understand and appreciate that many risky and negative behaviors of children are attempts to alleviate the stress and pain in their daily lives. Here’s where empathy is required. Do not condemn children for negative behaviors or we potentially increase their sense of shame. Might I also add that we should never punish children for childish behaviors.
Take Away: Children learn how to deal with challenges by watching us.