Building Distress Tolerance

Children and teens often look to parents, teachers, and trusted adults for reassurance and help when they face anxiety. With the help of adults, they can learn how to face their fears and lean in to uncertainty.

Parents can use this resource to note how they are responding to their child’s needs. Key reminders include:

1) Is my way of “helping” actually “helpful?”
2) Has what I’ve been doing actually been working? If no, why am I continuing to use this strategy?
3) Are my own thoughts and feelings (and resulting distress) not allowing my child to experience distress? Is this removing their chance to building tolerance and coping skills? Can they build a skill if never allowed to practice using it?
4) Am I choosing short-term pain/distress relief instead of working towards long-term relief?

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