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10 Things To diffuse Stress for Children This Christmas

PRESS RELEASE Friday December 19, 2012

10 Things To diffuse Stress for Children This Christmas

As Presbyterian Support launches its second tier of the Guardian Angel campaign on TV nationwide, Robyn Corrigan, Professional Practice Leader for Family Works Northern, speaks out about what we can do this Christmas to avoid a rise in harm and family related violence.

Robyn, who trains all frontline staff in Family Works Northern in working with family violence, says this is a particularly tough time for families on the threshold of high stress – and this season can be a breaking point for some unable to diffuse trouble brewing.

Some of the steps you can take to curb rising stress and keep kids safe:

1. Ask friends or family for help – a listening ear always helps
2. Help out by offering parents/caregivers a break -even an hour or two can make a difference
3. Count to 10 backwards and/or take a deep breath – it’s ok to put yourself in time out and calm down
4. Be Positive - Emphasise the good and reinforce the behaviour you want to see
5. Agree clear boundaries in advance , such as timeframes on outdoor night activity
6. Have food alongside alcoholic beverages and provide the choice of non-alcoholic drinks
7. If money/presents are scarce – place emphasis on non- material parts of the season, like outside activities, music, arts & other creative or free pursuits (see Eventfinda for free events in your area)
8. Take time to enjoy your children – play together, have fun and laugh
9. Remember that children are people too – they respond well when they feel listened to, respected, admired and loved
10. Look after yourself – find time for you and do something you enjoy to restock your energy.

There's help available

If you're worried about family violence, there are resources and organisations that can provide advice and support.

• Call the Family Violence Information Line on 0800 456 450 to find out about the organisations in your area who can help.

• Visit the website: www.areyouok.org.nz
• If an adult or child is in immediate danger, call the Police on 111.
• If you are concerned about a child's situation, call Child, Youth and Family on 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459).
• If you know an adult who’s being abused, offer them support and encouragement to get help.
• For a list of local services, go to www.familyservices.govt.nz/directory/index.jsp.

The Family Works Guardian Angel Campaign Background

The Guardian Angel campaign is an initiative from Presbyterian Support Family Works which aims to help Kiwi children in need in four main ways:

• When home no longer feels safe for children caught in the crossfire of family violence, abuse or addiction, Family Works services like parenting programmes can turn a troubled home into a much more positive place.

• When families have broken down it can be a shattering and heart breaking for children and parents alike. They can need Family Works help in many ways from family counselling to play therapy for children too young to express their pain

• When children are in trouble, acting out in ways they cannot understand – breaking things, hitting out etc – Family Works can get them back on track with mentoring, buddy programmes and working alongside parents

• When money is tight and families are desperate Family Works can help make ends meet with supportive guidance and even food parcels as well as being a voice for those struggling with poverty

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