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How to support loved ones during a tough time
by TeenHelp March 6th 2024, 07:55 AM

  • Ask what they need. Without realizing it, we sometimes project what we would need in a similar situation onto the other person and forget that different people are helped in different ways. Even if they say something that goes against your natural tendencies, such as wanting space when you think talking it out is the better option, make an effort to give them what they think is best suited for their coping process. There will also be times that people don't know the answer to this question and that's okay. Simply showing that you are thinking of them and prioritizing their needs can be incredibly meaningful in itself.
  • Resist the urge to be overbearing. Having people around you when you're struggling can be a welcome distraction, but having some time to yourself is also vital to the healing process. Although your heart might be in the right place when it comes to spending every available moment with your loved one, allow them time to think through their struggles and cope with them on their own too. Whatever circumstance they are facing, learning to handle it on their own is an important part of healthy healing.
  • Be gentle. You may find that your loved one is coping in an unhealthy way, such as drinking excessively or self-harming. If this is the case, it's important that you take a caring, respectful approach when addressing your concerns. You might say something like "I know you're going through a hard time right now and you don't need more on your plate, but I'm worried about you. Let's go do something fun and try to get your mind off of your usual temptations." By focusing on positivity, rather than trying to explain why what they are currently doing to cope is wrong, you're more likely to get a positive reaction.
  • Aim for balance. As good as talking about things can be, having distractions is equally beneficial to getting through a tough situation. Be sure to not only provide your loved one with an open ear and shoulder to cry on, but to encourage them to get out of the house and participate in activities that they enjoy. Being a sounding board and someone who helps them remember the good in life at the same time is one of the best ways you can help someone you care about.
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