How to Help a Friend in Crisis: Encouragement for Homeschool Moms

How to Help a Friend in Crisis: Here are some thoughts from Carry Each Other’s Burdens: A free white paper based on a study by Marilyn and Vicki.

How to Help a Friend in Crisis: Encouragement for Homeschool Moms

How to Help a Friend in Crisis

These are trying times for many of us. So many Americans, including homeschooling families, have experienced losses of loved ones or income due to the pandemic and other stressors.

With loss comes grief. Sometimes it is easily manageable. Sometimes, so many losses pile up that life begins to feel like a crisis. Have you ever been there?

If you have not experienced crisis, praise God. However, you probably know someone who is having a hard time.

We all know that friends can help us make it through difficult times. They can be “Jesus with skin on” when we are in crisis. And we can do the same for them. But, sometimes we don’t know how to help.

Having been on the receiving end of support, as well as having heard feedback from others who have been through crisis, I can tell you some of the things that are or aren’t helpful.

Here are some ways to help a friend in crisis.


  • DO actively listen when your friend needs to talk (no advice required – or probably wanted)
    • Active listening is simply, listening. Occasionally respond with, “I know that’s hard,” or “I know that hurts,” or simply repeat in your own words what your friend said.
  • DO be present – just show up. Your very presence can be a show of support.
  • DO provide meaningful touch – a hug, a pat on the back, a touch on the hand or a back rub – can be the best way to help your friend know that he/she is not alone.
  • DO pray with and for your friend.
    • Be sure not to “lecture pray” (you know, praying that God will show her how to do what you would like for her to do)
  • DO provide practical help.
  • DO take care of yourself, find encouragement for you so that you can keep giving encouragement.


  • DON’T say “I know how you feel”
    • If you have never been through a similar circumstance, you don’t know how they feel.
    • Even if you have been through something similar, it just is not a helpful thing to say to a person in crisis. It puts the focus on you, when they need to focus to be on them.
  • DON’T offer unsolicited advice.
    • Unsolicited advice is likely to cause more harm than good.
  • DON’T avoid your friend because you don’t know what to say.
    • your presence is more important than your words. Just silently being there is often enough.
  • DON’T assume that everyone handles crisis in the same way.
    • Allow your friend to grieve in his or her own way.
  • DON’T forget to take care of yourself.
    • If you neglect yourself and your own family while you are trying to care for your friend, you will both end up in crisis and this can cause even greater stress. Self-care is vital at all times!
    • You must allow others to help your friend, too.
  • DON’T get in God’s way – He has plans for your friend that go beyond anything either of you can imagine!

A true friend is one who is with you through difficult times, as well as the good. A friend that points you to God while doing so, is one of God’s greatest gifts. To be a true friend is also a blessing.

High school health for the whole person
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What about our teens? How do we help them to help their friends during tough times?

Share the information in this post with them. (They can also find this information in 7Sisters Health curriculum: High School Health for the Whole Person.)

Teens will often feel like it is their job to “rescue” their friends and make everything okay for them. Unfortunately, this is not possible. That’s where you find multiple teens in crisis; they are all stressed out trying to rescue each other!

Here’s a post that can help you and your teens.

How about younger children? How do we help them through crisis times?

Young children need to tell their story in words, art or play. This provides healing for them. The most important gift you can give a child who has experienced crisis is love and presence. Here is a post with more details.

Thanks for being the kind of friend who cares about her friends. God bless and keep you through hard times and good times.

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How to Help a Friend in Crisis

2 Replies to “How to Help a Friend in Crisis: Encouragement for Homeschool Moms”

  1. I know one “Jesus with skin on” thing that always helps me: a friend bringing me coffee.

    Also, encouraging cards are treasured (but I’m a hypocrite because I am bad at sending them to others).

    AND: a verbal word of encouragement is SOOO much appreciated.

    • A perfect example of having the help match what someone needs. Since I”m not a coffee-drinker, bringing me coffee would do nothing for me.

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