What do you do when your child comes to you crying and/or upset about something?
Do you LISTEN and CONSOLE empathetically? Do you brush it off and say, “It is NO BIG DEAL.” Do you pay attention to him when he is talking or are you doing something on your phone. I have done all of the above, ashamed of some of them.
A year ago I went to a parent talk regarding anxiety and children. They discussed what causes CHILD anxiety, the outrageous number of kids who have an ANXIETY DISORDER, how parents often react to certain situations, and some ways to support our children to LIMIT the amount of anxiety they feel.
MY BIGGEST LEARNING was very IMPACTFUL.
An expert talked with us after we watched the movie “Angst”. She said that when our children come to us with a problem that is upsetting them, we have to understand that this is THEIR WORLD and we should NEVER brush it off like it is NO BIG DEAL. Well, after hearing this, I FELT LOW! I know I have done that with my kids. Just because I don’t think it is a big deal, doesn’t mean it isn’t to them. When we brush it off and don’t ACTIVELY listen and ENGAGE in the conversation, it communicates to our children that their problems aren’t important enough to discuss. Not only does it start creating anxiety for these children, we will start seeing our children not talking openly to us and start to shut us out.
I don’t know about you as a parent, but I want to always have OPEN, HONEST conversations with my children and I want them to feel COMFORTABLE coming to talk with me about anything.
Here is one of many situations of how I made sure to be an ACTIVE LISTENER and how I RESPECTED my 8 year old son in a problem that made him really sad.
We recently went to a small amusement park in a town near us. It has a bunch of rides that are for all different sizes. Of course my son wanted to ride some of the bigger rides but minimum height is 48 inches tall. Near the end of our day we told the kids to choose one more ride. The 8 year old was READY for the big ROLLER COASTER. So we trotted on up there and as my husband, daughter, and son got to the front, the attendant measured him. NOPE…he was NOT tall enough! My daughter and husband proceeded to the coaster and the 8 year old walked over to me, put his face in my leg and started CRYING. I felt so HORRIBLE for him. He GOT the courage to go on this ride and then was turned down. What made this even harder was that he was measured on another ride where he had to be 48 inches and they let him through. OOPS!
My first instinct was to say, “It will be OK. You will be 48 inches soon.” INSTEAD…I consciously took some time to think and just let him cry while rubbing his back. Then I realized I didn’t even need to say anything. I mean SERIOUSLY, what would I even say. There is nothing that I could have said to make him feel better so why try. This instance, I just CONSOLED him, made sure he knew I understood how sad he was, let him get his feelings out, and self-soothe himself while I stayed with him. He definitely was in the BLUE ZONE and he had to work his way back to the GREEN ZONE with quiet support from me. He FINALLY got there and was able to focus on the rest of the day which was super fun!
As parents, we often brush things off that don’t seem like a big deal to us, or we may say things that aren’t even necessary. Sometimes our kids just need us to be there, console them, hug them, rub their backs, cuddle or kiss them, and just communicate that we UNDERSTAND they are SAD, MAD, or WORRIED.
SO WHAT WILL YOU DO THE NEXT TIME YOUR CHILD COMES TO YOU WITH A PROBLEM?
Comment and share some strategies you will implement because we all know, this happens a lot so we need to be prepared as parents for when it does!
Living in DAILY JOY!
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