When you are stressed, it is normal to want to feel better. Anything that makes you feel better is called a coping strategy. Negative strategies can be quick fixes, but they're harmful because they can be dangerous and make stress worse in the long run. Think about some of the ways people cope with stress that can really hurt them:
These harmful choices may help you feel good for a little while, but some can be
really dangerous. They also end up making people worried about you or angry
with you. This messes up your life, and you become a lot more stressed. They're especially worrisome if they are a major way you deal with stress because you
may turn to these behaviors more often during hard times. This is one of the ways addiction starts. If you are doing some of these things, ask yourself, "Why?" If it is
to deal with problems, consider other ways of dealing with the same problems. There are many healthy ways of coping. Healthy coping strategies are safe and
can help you feel better without messing up your life.
From Ginsburg KR, Jablow MM. Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings. 2nd ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2011
Please feel free to copy this handout or download from www.fosteringresilience.com or the American Academy of Pediatrics Web site for parents, www.HealthyChildren.org.