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Performance skills are important, but don’t overlook coping skills.

Teachable moments come up in many ways. For example, your child makes a mistake, or they recognize that they need support.

Mistakes are opportunities for learning. They can give you a window into what skills your child still needs to work on mastering.

When your child turns to you for support, you are being presented with another type of teachable moment; an opportunity to work with your tween on healthy coping skills that help build resilience.

How to Use Teachable Moments to Build Online Resilience

Resilience is important because there will be difficulties online.  The more resilient you are, the more you can regulate your emotions.  For more on why emotional regulation matters when interacting online click here.  

Imagine your child comes to you upset about something they have seen online. First things first  – try to let your child know that you are here to support them through this challenge and that you are grateful that they brought their concerns to you.

Once they’ve calmed down, you can model some coping skills for them in order to help them build their resilience. 

There are a number of different coping strategies you may want to draw from.  Here are a few that we feel relate best to building online resilience.  We’ve paired them with some TDSU activities designed to target each one.

  • Diversion: Sometimes your tween needs some relief from thinking about whatever it is that is causing stress or anxiety.  Diversion is not a solution; it is a tool to use to get a little distance from the issue at hand until they can think more clearly.  Our Building the Mindfulness Muscle activity has some great suggestions for diversions you and your child can undertake together!  
  • Cognitive Coping: It can be helpful for your tween to engage in an intellectual activity to help us them manage their emotions.  For example, if they are feeling insecure about something they’ve encountered online, suggest that they write down their strengths.  This gets them thinking logically, overriding their limbic system.  We have some other fun tips for your tween to Reset Using Research.
  • Social Coping: It feels good to know that we don’t have to figure everything out on our own.  Remind your tween that they have a community of people who are here to help them deal with online situations that seem complex, confusing, disturbing, dangerous, or upsetting.  Help your tween build their Trusted Team of people who will support them as they learn the skills they need to be safe and responsible online. Who are the trusted adults your tween will Reach Out to if they come across something Disturbing, Dangerous, or Disparaging?  Create a Reach Out Plan with your tween! 
  • Physical Coping and Tension Releasers: It never hurts to make sure our needs for sleep and food are being met.  It is hard to deal with strong emotions or difficult situations when we are tired or hungry. Sometimes we just need to get up and get moving!  Feeling anxious about something you’ve just seen or read online?  Deactivate the amygdala by taking a walk or exercising. For more ways to Reset Using Research, click here.
  • Limit Setting: Setting limits affirms our sense of agency, and identifying what we can control and what we can’t can be empowering.  At TDSU we have a number of great activities you can do with your tween to help them set limits around their online lives, whether it’s about how much time they spend on devices, who they follow, or who they allow to have access to them online.   Our Digital Detox, Circles of Consent, and Mental Health Day can get you started!

For more on coping strategies, see this coping skills article from Positive Psychology.

Don’t just follow your kids online.  Lead them.