Coping skills are important not only because they allow children to manage their social emotional challenges, they may also contribute to their feelings of connectedness. Success for Kids (SFK) is a program that provides a curriculum for children’s social emotional learning (PR, 2011). Thought this Friday factoid is not an advert for program, programs like SFK bring to the forefront the importance of teaching children, early in life, how to manage the day to day stressors we can encounter, in hopes that it will contribute to their positive decision making later in life.
Programs like SFK highlight the needs for children to learn that coping skills also include facets of communication, problem solving, responsibility, empathy, respect for others, etc.… and cannot be reduced to a simplistic list of tasks like take ten deep breaths or walk away. We have to teach our children the how difficult and nuanced coping can actually be.
Puskar, Sereika and Tusaie-Mumford (2003) explored the effects of another program, Teaching Kids to Cope (TKC). Considering the amount of children that present with signs and symptoms of social emotional challenges, attention to how children are learning to cope in important. This study noted that children enrolled in this program, over time, began not only to identify strategies “to decrease the intensity of emotional reactivity and depressive thoughts” (p. 78) they also began to explore and openly discuss other related issues that emerged.
Though these are two of the many programs that are available across our country, the take home message is that being proactive in teaching our children how to cope may have a positive effect in their overall ability to manage stressors as they transition from childhood in to adolescence and adulthood.
PR, N. (2011, January 26). Social Emotional Learning Key to Helping Children and Adolescents Develop Purpose, Connectedness and Coping Skills. PR Newswire US.
Puskar, K., Sereika, S., & Tusaie-Mumford, K. (2003). Effect of the Teaching Kids to Cope (TKC) program on outcomes of depression and coping among rural adolescents. Journal Of Child And Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing: Official Publication Of The Association Of Child And Adolescent Psychiatric Nurses, Inc, 16(2), 71-80
Jennifer Roman, M.A.
WKPIC Doctoral Intern