Coping with fear, anger and strong emotions

What are emotional coping skills?

Emotional coping skills help children manage feelings that are common, but still uncomfortable. These include emotions like fear, anger, sadness, and disappointment.

A secure and loving family and a positive learning environment supports children and teenagers to develop their own emotional coping skills. Positive interactions and guidance help children learn to express and manage strong emotions in appropriate ways. Handling difficult emotions is a key life skill – one that all parents and caregivers can support children and teenagers to develop.

Why are coping skills important?

Life has its ups and downs. Kids have good days and not-so-good days. They need to learn to express uncomfortable emotions like sadness, fear, and anger in ways that are not hurtful to themselves or others. They also need to develop confidence in their own ability to cope with these emotions. Not just now, but in the future, too.

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What can get in the way of children developing emotional coping skills?

Children need to be loved and cared for, and shielded from genuine danger and harm. They need to have parents involved in their lives. At the same time, too much of this can rob kids of confidence in their ability to handle challenges. They can come to rely on their parents instead of developing independence. And if they never learn how to cope with strong emotions, they will struggle in adulthood. Parents can get the balance right, and support coping skills, by making positive changes.

How can i help support my child’s ability to cope with emotions like fear, anger, or sadness?


  • One way that children learn is by example. Children can learn that even though parents are sometimes concerned or even upset, it can be handled. It can be talked about. It can be looked at as a challenge or minor setback. This teaches kids that occasional setbacks are a normal part of life and problems can be solved. And that helps them in the long term. You can let your child know that uncomfortable feelings can be managed.
  • Children need to experience reasonable levels of risk, failure and disappointment, with parents supporting them just enough and not too much. Of course, you can’t just throw your child into the world and expect them to cope.
  • The younger a child is, the more they’ll need your emotional support. But when a child is old enough, rather than simply reassuring, you can help children and teenagers work out ways that THEY can deal with difficult or challenging situations.
  • And you can also help them develop a sense of optimism and feelings of confidence.

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Strengthen your child's coping skills

New skills and strategies to handle challenging or difficult behaviour and situations help parents and caregivers develop new ways of dealing with life in general. Better relationships and more positive interactions help increase a child's or teenager's emotional resilience.