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Stress Relievers for Kids

When kids are stressed, they sometimes resort to self-destructive behaviors including self-injury, otherwise known as cutting. Even if you think your child would never deliberately hurt herself, you should still make sure she's learning the tools she needs now, and going forward, to handle life on life's terms. Ideally you'll model healthy tension-busters yourself. For instance, when you've had a super-crazy workday, ask your daughter to go for a walk with you so you can clear your head. Read on for other soothing techniques to suggest teens try.

By Jeannette Moninger

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Teen friends
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Laugh with BFFs

There's no better stress reliever than a good giggle. Encourage your kid to call, text or get together with her support buddies—people who consistently treat her with respect and kindness—when she needs a pick-me-up.

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Pummel a Punching Bag

Or jog around the block. Physical activity of any kind is a great way to let out frustrations.

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Release the Inner Artist

Your child doesn't have to possess amazing talent to find solace in painting or drawing. Keep materials on hand so she can let her feelings flow onto the paper—she can even just scribble away. Or give her a journal and encourage her to use it.

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Breathe In, Breathe Out

Deep breathing exercises are simple to do anywhere. Teach this one: Inhale deeply through your nose, and then exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting the abdominal muscles (have her place her hand on her belly so she can feel the contraction).

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Crank Up the Tunes

Dance. Sing LOUD! Pound the piano. Music is a great mood lifter.

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Finally, don't delay seeking help if your child shows signs of self-injury. These sites offer guidance.

Copyright © 2011 Meredith Corporation.

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