Many children live in pain, fear, loneliness, and despair. They need our care, love and protection. And perhaps most importantly: that we help them to be happy, despite difficulties.
As parents we recognize the value and importance of challenges and trials in our children’s lives to their progress and development. Even so, it is not easy to see them go through difficulties. These adverse circumstances can, however, give us the opportunity to build a strong relationship with them by fostering an atmosphere of trust and love at home.
There are many difficult issues to deal with with children, referring to unfavorable circumstances they might be facing, for example: bullying, exposure to foul language, temptation to cheat at school, same-sex attraction, eating disorders , depression and even suicidal thoughts.
We might think that this is an exaggeration, but the truth is that our children are exposed to even more difficult situations than we would like to admit or imagine. So how do you cope when they struggle with difficult issues? Here are some ideas:
1. Always dialogue, on many topics
Talking with children is essential from the time they are small and even when they are far beyond our height. Try to talk to them whenever you can and ask them a lot. In doing so, she tries to ask questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”; raises questions that foster dialogue and allow them to open up with you to express themselves freely; for example: “I see you strange, are you worried about something? Do you want to talk about it?”
Whenever your child tells you about a problem or concern, show how much you care that he did it, and respond something like, “Thank you for telling me this and trusting me; Now what can I do to help you? Probably the most important thing you can do to help him, you have already done by asking, listening and appreciating what he has said. Don’t dwell on it though, and take it a step further.
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2. Listen to understand
Whenever your child needs to talk, this is a good time to listen. Children generally like to share their experiences and we often enjoy it, but can we really listen to them without interrupting, no matter how surprising or difficult the topic is?
It is essential that we learn to listen and not make sudden value judgments, because when we do so we run the enormous risk of closing the door of dialogue. Door that you should always keep open. A great way to do this is to listen to understand and not to judge or scold. Your children will want to talk to you if they feel that you listen, understand, and trust them.
3. Show respect and avoid criticism
Show respect for your children and their life experiences; This of course implies that you focus on developing your patience and kindness. Your children don’t need you to tell them that you would have done better in such a situation, or that they worry about something unimportant. Be patient and try to understand why something is problematic for them that may be easy for you to solve.
Avoid criticizing them, because if you do, you can cause self-esteem problems and a lack of self-confidence. Highlight their qualities and the good that they can learn from difficult situations.
Look your children in the eye, always; When you talk to them, look for your own eyes to reflect your love for them, with such intensity that your love becomes a great certainty in their life. If you don’t, who will? If you don’t do it now, when?
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4. Control anger and rage
Every time you show anger you push them away from you, and what’s more, anger has the power to destroy even the strongest parent-child relationship. When we get angry, this feeling is often due to the fact that we see in reality something that does not correspond to what we want, that challenges our illusion of control over things and others. When you get angry with your children, remember that feeling comes from your own helplessness in the face of things, not from who your children are and what they do. If you can control your angry reactions, I assure you that your children will never be afraid to tell you what they feel, think or are living.
Finally, when you don’t know what to do or how to react to a problem your children are facing, simply ask yourself: How can I use this situation to turn it into an opportunity to learn and strengthen my relationship with my child?
Being good parents is a difficult and delicate task, but also momentous, beautiful and rewarding. Talking about life’s challenges with children can be difficult and it is even more so when they are adolescents, as they are at a time when they struggle to form their own identity, one that is independent from that of their parents. However, I assure you that if you practice these tips, your children — no matter how old they are — will always know that they can count on you to deal with the sweet and the sour in life.
You can also read: Are we talking or preaching parents? A reflection on communication with children