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Supporting your student during times of stress and change
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Supporting your student during times of stress and change

Supporting your student during times of stress and change

Talking with your students about tough topics, big experiences and big feelings

The links below provide strategies and tools for talking with young people about potentially difficult topics like naming race and racism, practicing social justice, recognizing big feelings and making sense of what we see in the media.

Be present

  • Children will take their cues from you - so take good care of yourself.  Just as they share in your moments of joy, they will also share in your pain so take care about how much they can manage.
  • Be as consistent as possible. Simply being available promotes feelings of safety and security
  • Attend to physical needs; make referrals and connections to those who can help
  • Focus any conversations on feelings 
  • Be someone your student can talk to about their experience: care, really listen, be there to lean on or cry with

How to let people know you are listening

  • Listen more, talk less
  • Your compassionate presence is more important than your words
  • Try not to interrupt
  • When you do speak, do it in a calm, warm tone
  • Label, summarize, and mirror the feelings the other person is expressing
  • Do ask questions to clarify

Avoid saying

  • I know how you feel
  • Let’s talk about something else
  • You should work toward getting over this
  • You are strong enough to deal with this
  • I know how you feel (But it’s okay to say, “I feel sad too")
  • You’ll feel better soon
  • You need to relax

Behaviors to watch for

Your child may show some of these behaviors immediately or days, weeks, or even months after an incident. If these last for a prolonged time or seem to get worse rather than better, reach out to your health care provider.

  • Shock/denial
  • Restlessness, anger, aggressive behavior
  • Sleeping or eating difficulties
  • Headaches, tummy aches, body aches
  • Withdrawal
  • Sadness, tearfulness
  • Poor concentration
  • Unexpected fears and worries
  • Acting younger than their age
  • School avoidance

Preparing yourself to be an adult resource for children and youth

Resources for talking with your student and family about race & racism

Resources for self-care, self, compassion and taking a break

Trial Resources for Families

As the news unfolds around the trials related to the killing of Mr. George Floyd, media commentary grows and social justice actions restart, we know as parents and caregivers, that we want to be ready to be there for our children wherever they are in the moment. Here are some resources to support you as you talk with your student about the trial.