Coping Strategies are techniques that teens can use to help them when they are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, angry, or frustrated to help them feel more calm and relaxed. It is important to help teach teens how to deal with their emotions and feelings and help them find appropriate strategies to help them deal with these emotions. The teenage years can bring about new experiences which can then possibly lead to new stresses and feelings of overwhelm. Check out some of our free resources to help your teen learn how to cope with these feelings and emotions.
How to Help Teens Deal with Emotions
The teenage years can be stressful for most teens. They are trying to figure out who they are as a person and learning new things about themselves. The demands placed on them at school are getting harder. Learning to deal with all of this newness can bring about more emotions. Talking to them about these new situations and helping them come up with coping strategies that work for them can help them learn how to deal with their emotions. Use some of the free resources below to help you get started.
Free Coping Strategies Resources for Teens
Mindfulness Strategies Workbook created by Carol Miller- The Middle School Counselor at Teachers Pay Teachers
Free Coping Strategies Notebook by Pathways 2 Success at Teachers Pay Teachers
Free Anger Worksheets by Pathways 2 Success at Teachers Pay Teachers
30 Days of Coping Strategies Challenge by Pathways 2 Success at Teachers Pay Teachers
Coping Strategies Worksheets by Plum Tree
Social Stories include:
When I make a mistake Social Story
When I get a bad grade Social Story
When I feel Frustrated Social Story
Do you have a teenager that has difficulty making friends at school? Friendships can be difficult for some teenagers to form and then maybe even more difficult once they leave school. Making friends can sometimes be a hard skill for teens on the autism spectrum. They may have a hard time understanding how to make conversation or how to ask someone questions to get to know them better. It could be hard to find mutual interests. Or they may not even be interested in making friends. It can be hard to learn who is actually a friend and who may be someone taking advantage of you…
They may have difficulty reading body language to understand if someone is interested in what they are saying or not. They may have a hard time understanding how to work together or when playing games how to share. There are a lot of skills that go into making friends and these can be overwhelming and difficult to teach at times.
That is why we wanted to put together some FREE resources and websites for you to check out to see if they may help you and your teen with making friends. Finding meaningful friendships can have a wonderful social impact for all teens throughout their life.
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Check out our Free Social Situation Cards below! Feel free to download them by entering your name and email below. When you download this freebie you will also be signing up for our weekly newsletter!
We hope you find these free resources helpful on your journey to help your teen with friendships. Let us know in the comments below which freebie is your favorite or if there is anything else you would like to add!
Self-esteem is an important skill to learn, especially for teenagers and older kids to help them manage and regulate their emotions as they become adults. Helping them see themselves in a positive light will have lasting impressions on them as they get older. They will have increased confidence in their abilities and hopefully see themselves in a positive way.
Finding activities that older kids will want to participate with can be a challenge sometimes. They may not see the purpose of the activity in the moment, but these types of activities can have a long-lasting impression on their lives. That is why we found some FREE activities that you can try with older kids whether you are a parent, teacher, therapist, or professional to help you find just the right activity for your teen.
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FREE Self-Esteem Activities for older kids
Some of these free activities are on the website Teachers Pay Teachers where you will need to create a free account to be able to download these worksheets. Click the titles of the activities below to be taken to the free download!
Self-Esteem Activities for Secondary Life Skills Students
Self-Esteem Dice Game
Self-Esteem Activity: “I am special and unique!”
Counseling worksheet for self-esteem
Social Skills Rubrics: Self-Esteem Pack Freebie
18 Self Esteem Worksheets and Activities for Teens and Adolescents
We hope that you can find a free activity that will work for your situation. Let us know in the comments below if you found any of the activities helpful for your teen!
Looking for more amazing resources?
Check out our new ebook Making Sense of the Teen Years: A Sensory Processing Guide
Teens with Autism and Dating
Thinking about your teen dating can be scary for some parents, but we want to help make this process a little easier for you. Navigating the social aspects of dating can be difficult for teens with autism. Just like many other social skills many individuals may need to be taught specific skills to help them with dating. Dating can be a complex skill to learn.
Always listen to your teen and watch for their desire to want to date. Always go off of what your teen is telling you and showing you. Don’t force your teen to do something if they are not interested or don’t want to do it. Everyone has their own preferences and show interest in dating at different times in their lives.
*This post may contain affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but we may earn a commission. Please see our disclosure statement for further details.
How can you tell if your teen is ready for dating?
All teens develop at different rates and have different interests in dating. Follow your teens lead, if you see that they are showing interest or asking you questions about dating help them through this complex situation. Pay attention to their nonverbal behaviors as well to help you decide if they are interested in dating.
A teen’s social maturity may not be the same as their physical maturity. Some teens may feel the physical desire for dating and sexuality before the social competence for dating. If your teen is asking you questions about their physical appearance/changes and their desire for sexuality be open to talk with them about these topics. Talk to your teen in a way that makes sense to them. If they learn best through direct concrete answers or through pictures/videos, help provide these opportunities for them to learn about the changes in their bodies.
Be Proactive and have Open Dialogue with your Teen about Dating and Sexuality
Sex and dating are very complex social situations. If you think your teen may be sexually active or dealing with opportunities for sexual activity don’t delay these conversations. It is important that we can protect your teen as best as you can from getting into unsafe situations. It is crucial to talk about safe sex and helping them to understand how pregnancy can occur. If you feel uncomfortable about talking about these situations with your teen is there someone you can reach out to for help? You could reach out to your teen’s doctor especially if you have concerns about health related questions.
Provide role playing opportunities to practice dating situations
One way to practice some of the complex social situations involved with dating would be to role play common situations. You could also try social stories, social scripts, modeling appropriate behaviors, video modeling, or an acting class. Social situations that you could role play and talk about for dating could be:
- how to compliment
- how to show interest in someone
- how to talk with a peer you like
- how to read nonverbal behavior
- when to smile
- how to use good manners
- how to be respectful of another person
- how to show affection
- appropriate physical touch
- how to stay safe
- conflict resolution
- safety in public areas
Have open conversations about how to stay safe with dating
We want to do whatever we can to help our teen stay safe and not get taken advantage of in this complex social situation. Discuss who, when, where, and how to ask someone out.
- Who is appropriate for you to ask out?
- Someone around your age
- who shows interest in you
- is nice to you
- talks to you
- someone you like
- When is it appropriate to ask someone out?
- After you have gotten to know someone better
- When you have noticed that you both seem to be interested in each other
- Where is it appropriate to ask someone out?
- Usually in a more private setting when not a lot of people are around
- typically it is best to do it in person, but you can also call someone on the phone.
- Texting may not be as a personal way to ask someone out
- How do you ask someone out?
- in person you can ask if they are free at a certain time that you could go to a place of mutual interest
- make sure to get contact information to confirm the date, time, and location ahead of time
- How do you show appropriate touch during a date?
- Make sure to talk about safe and appropriate physical touch
- talk about how to hold hands, give a hug, or a kiss
- talk about inappropriate types of physical touch and how to read body cues and signs of how someone may like or not like the type of touch.
- Discuss different levels of intimacy
- Help them understand the difference between hand holding, hugging, kissing, and more intimate types of touching to help them stay safe.
- Talk about the steps/routine of a typical date
- Make sure your teen knows when and where the date will take place
- how they will get to the location
- what they may do at the location (dinner, movie, bowling, party)
- Help them understand appropriate personal hygiene cares and dressing skills
Dating is a complex social situation
We need to remember that dating is complex and overwhelming social situation. This may cause our teen frustration, anxiety, fear, or anger. Please be aware of how your teen is feeling about dating and be ready to help them through this situation as it pertains to them. Help them understand that rejection may also be apart of dating and how to help them through this as well. Help them understand that someone may not be interested in them even though they are interested. Or that someone may be too busy to date. It can be impossible to understand why someone may not be interested in you and this could be a hard skill for some teens to cope with.
Dating can be a positive situation and we need to stay proactive and help our teens through these unique situations. The more we can support our teen’s desires for dating and have open dialogue about the social situations it can be seen as a rewarding and positive experience.
Do you have further questions about dating? We would love to hear your advice and comments below.
Resources you will love!
Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom
Being a Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity & More
The 10 Myths of Teen Dating: Truths Your Daughter Needs to Know to Date Smart, Avoid Disaster, and Protect Her Future
Dating Smarts – What Every Teen Needs To Date, Relate Or Wait
Your Words Matter When Talking to Children and Teens with Autism
I am always fascinated when talking with my younger brother about different social situations he has experienced. One that always stands out to me is that he apologized for the way he acted in Kindergarten when he would run out of the classroom or other behaviors he would experience as a 15 year old! He can vividly remember certain actions or behaviors he did when he was in kindergarten, but was unable to talk to us at that time to understand why he was acting a certain way.
Fast forward 10 years and now he is able to verbally tell us and explain to us why he acted a certain way or what he can vividly remember from that time in his life. I am so blown away by my brother and what he is able to accomplish. He is truly an amazing person.
I wanted to share this story with you, because sometimes I think we forget that everyone has the ability to understand what we are saying or what they are doing, but they may not have the ability to communicate that with you at that time. That does not mean they do not understand you or the situation though.
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Be Mindful of what you say to EVERYONE!
We need to be mindful of what we say and how we talk to EVERYONE, but especially people who are non verbal or have limited communication skills. Even though someone may have difficulty verbally communicating with you, does not mean they do not understand what you are saying to them. They can very well understand if you are calling them bad names or even using a harsh tone when you are speaking with them.
Instead of using negative language, make sure you are ALWAYS talking to them as you would any other person. Please use positive language with them and talk with them as they are your best friend. Please do not change your tone of voice or how you word something to someone with autism.
Our Thoughts can become our Actions
When working as an occupational therapist and interacting with many children and parents I have learned how powerful our thoughts can be. When we start to use negative thoughts with things, we can start to treat those things worse than if we spoke positively about them. This can be true towards people, ourselves, or situations. If we start to think bad thoughts about a person or that they are stupid we will treat them as such. The relationship can begin to become negative when we think negative thoughts about someone.
Become Aware of your Thoughts
We need to become aware of when we are using these negative thoughts in order to make change. When you are working with a child or in a situation that you are frustrated with take the time to listen to your inner thoughts. How are you thinking about the child or the situation? Are you thinking negatively or positively? My guess is that you are thinking negatively.
How can we change our thoughts?
Reframe your way of thinking…
Think about different situations with the kids or teens you are working with.
“The child is not giving me a hard time. They are having a hard time.”
Give respect to the people in your life. Speak to them in a respectful manner. If I would not say it to a group of people than I should not say it to an individual.
Sometimes we need to Vent
I understand that there are times in our lives when we are overworked and frustrated and we need to be able to vent and talk through these situations to allow us to move on. I am a new parent and a therapist that has been in different situations that I just need to talk to someone about to help me get through the situations.
Be Mindful of who you Vent to
We need to be mindful of who we vent to. Please do not vent in public places where strangers could overhear your conversations. Find a safe person who knows you and knows your kids or a co-worker if it is a job related situation. Find someone who won’t judge you and can be supportive of you.
Also how you vent is important too. Do not resort to name calling when talking about a person. There is a big difference when talking negatively about a child vs. talking about the behaviors a child is showing us. When we resort to name calling we are chaining our thoughts about the child and this in turn can continue the cycle of negative ways of thinking. If we can focus on the behaviors this can help us to get productive advice and guidance about how to help change a situation for the child to help them.
When venting, please make sure the child or teen that you are talking about are not around! This can devastate a relationship if a child or teen feels that you are talking negatively about them. Always remember, if you can’t say it out loud in a group of people, you should never say it to the individual. We never want to label a child, especially a negative label.
“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice”-Peggy O’Mara
In conclusion, what I am trying to say here is be respectful of EVERYONE, but especially children and teens on the autism spectrum. Please be mindful of how you speak to them and never assume they are not listening to you or do not understand you.
Please never talk negatively to someone and we all could work a little harder at using positive words and phrases when talking with people. Here is a list of some positive phrases you can use when working with children and teens with autism. Grab your copy below!
This is not a comprehensive list of positive phrases, but it will give you a start and some ideas of phrases to use. Please be mindful of what you say when working with children and teens with autism. Your words can have a long lasting affect on them. Your words matter when talking and working with children and teens with autism.