Help! My Kid’s in Crisis!

Every parent faces the inevitable reality of watching their kid face an emotional crisis. It’s scary, it’s intense and likely feels way out of your control. Our goal at Decade2Connect is to provide mental health support not only for your child but you and your family.

Learning to better understand and respond to these intense emotions is key to healthy emotional regulation. Here are some steps you can take to support your middle school child during an emotional crisis:

The first step is safety. If your child is in immediate danger, call emergency services (911 or 988, or text “TALK” to 38255).

Listen ActivelyWhen your child feels unsafe in their own body, you can create a safe environment for them to face this crisis. How? Give them space to express their feelings without judgment. Giving adolescents the space to fully emote allows them to gradually calm themselves down.
Validate their FeelingsEmotions can be scary! Because they’re uncomfortable, many emotions may feel wrong. And it may be your first instinct to want to fix the problem. But this actually removes space for your child’s feelings to be seen. Acknowledge your child’s emotions and let them know that it’s okay to feel the way they do. This will normalize the process of emotions coming up as well as willingness to respond to them. Let your child know that they’re not alone and that you are there to help. Offer comfort and support.
Offer Practical SupportOnce you have processed through the emotions that came up in your child, you can begin the journey of next steps together. Depending on the situation, this may include things like helping them find a therapist, connecting them with other resources, or simply being there for them.
Encourage Healthy Coping MechanismsSometimes, the route out of the head is through the body. Suggest activities like exercise, journaling, music or art that can help your child regulate their emotions in moments they feel overwhelmed. This will not only provide support but encourage them that they are strong enough to handle these intense emotions. Joining your child in movement is also an impactful way to connect!
Avoid Dismissive ResponsesThis is a tough one, as you often want your child to see the world through rose colored glasses. Try not to say things like “it’s not that bad” or “snap out of it”. This can make the situation worse and further isolate your child.
Seek Outside SupportThere is no shame in needing more help than you can provide! If the situation is particularly severe or you feel like you are unable to provide the support your child needs, consider seeking the help of a mental health professional or family therapist. Therapists are trained to understand and coach children and families through these emotions. Walking through that journey with your child will build trust and provide hope and harmony for your family.

We know a simple list won’t solve the complex emotions your child experiences in crisis. The biggest reminder is that you’re not alone! Decade2Connect is here to support you and your child, as well as connect you to families walking through the same challenges. If you need support, we’re here. Simply click “Connect2Us” to chat with a member of our team!

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is in-network with United!