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Is It A Problem Or Crisis?

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Parent Coach for Moms of Teens: Fern Weis

Does everything feel like a crisis? 

That used to be me. Anytime there was a problem, large or small, I’d get the same feeling in my belly, a feeling of panic. (I didn’t know then that I’d had a mild anxiety disorder for a long time.)

From a late credit card payment to a fight with my husband, the initial body sensation was the same. Then I’d be stuck in the loop of helplessness and obsessive thoughts.

“Even a crisis can be broken down into smaller pieces, which are then problems to be solved.”

What Qualifies As A Crisis?

A therapist introduced the idea that some things are crises that need immediate attention, and some are problems to be solved. Imagine that! I didn’t know there was a different way to see my world. 

And even a crisis can be broken down into smaller pieces, which are then problems to be solved.

What qualifies as a crisis? The obvious are health and safety concerns. Then it’s all hands on deck, this requires immediate action. After that, classifying something as a crisis is up for grabs.

Be Supportive:

Here’s a parenting example. For the student whose grades and effort are consistently good, missed assignments or low test scores are out of the ordinary and a red flag for parents. That may feel like a crisis. It’s all relative and needs context.

For those parents, it’s time to have a conversation with their children. A great way to introduce the topic is with “I’ve noticed”. “I’ve noticed that you’re not your usual consistent self with school work.” It’s not threatening or angry. Be supportive and available to help your child work through the underlying cause.

“Do whatever you need to do.”

Observe Yourself:

The bottom line, whether it’s a problem or a crisis, is to stop for a moment and observe yourself. “I’m really upset and this overwhelming.”

Then ask, “What’s one thing I can do right now to fix this or reset myself?”

Some of you will go right to problem-solving, others will go to something that soothes or distracts. Do whatever you need to do.

Remember that you have choices about how you see a situation and how to deal with it.

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Fern Weis

About the Author:

Fern Weis is a Parent Empowerment Coach for Moms of Teens and a Family Recovery Coach. She’s also a wife, former middle school teacher, and the parent of two adult children who taught her more about herself than she ever could have imagined.  

Fern partners with moms of teens and young adults, privately and in groups. She helps them grow their confidence to build strong relationships and emotionally healthier kids who become successful adults. She knows first-hand that when parents do the work, the possibilities for change are limitless; that it’s never too late to start; and you don’t have to do it alone. Learn more about Fern at www.fernweis.com.

If you need more support and strategies, you will find them on my new platform, “Raising Teenagers: Where Parents Learn How to Talk to Their Teens.”