How to Help Your Children to Cope

Are you aware that when your children have stopped coming to you with their problems, you should start worrying? I am not trying to be an alarmist. As you read this article, you will be challenged to ponder over the many pertinent questions that we can ask ourselves, and search for answers, at take appropriate remedial actions.

I am disturbed when many parents are not vigilant on the activities and struggles of their children. They may oblivious to the trials and tribulations that their sons and daughters may be going through and that their children may be going through very turbulent phase in their lives right now.

Do we know what may be the causes of their children’s difficulties? Do we have solutions on how to help our children to go through the turbulence? Do we take hard actions?

These are the issues that we parents face and we will address them here.

Parents have to be alert to the fact their sons or girls, whether they are young teens or young adults, may be experiencing difficulties coping with the stress and strain arising from their dealing with their peers, elder children at play or in classroom.

We have to be aware that if the trials and tribulations faced by our childrn are not handled properly, their healthy development can be seriously hampered and lead to very serious consequences later in their lives. Unfortunately, by then, it may be too late to reverse the great harms that have been done.

In order to understand the seriousness of the problem, we need to assess the situation, decide on the remedial measures and take the necessary measures to avoid the unnecessarily dangerous results.

Here, we shall examine three important facets of this issue.

(i) Study the situations to ascertain why children have stopped bringing their troubles to their parents
(ii) Pinpoint and investigate the reasons that discourage our children coming to us with their troubles.
(iii) Recommend remedial measures to correct the situations.

In our dealing with our children, we have to remind ourselves to respond to them in ways that assure them that it is to their benefits and protection for them to approach us whenever they encounter any uncertainty or difficulty.

Section 1: Let’s Face These Pointed Questions

Here are some pointed questions for us to grapple with so as to assist us to better sieve out the likely reasons that dissuade our children from coming to us with their predicaments:

1. Do our children consider us to be their best friends and trusted confidants?
2. Do we show due respect to their ideas?
3. Are we honest with them regarding our own unease, feelings and faith?
4. Do we show our openness when listening to what they have to say?
5. Do we show we enjoy their sharing with us?
6. Do we walk the talk ourselves?
7. Do we display genuine interest in our children’s delight and plight that they share with us?
8. Do we exhibit our delight when they spend their time with us?
9. Do we provide the vital support and aid when they share their troubles with us?
10. Do we sneer at our children’s silly fears and worries?
11. Do we reach out to them when they have difficulties in handling their failure, anguish and misery?
12. Are we with them during their depressing moments?
13. Do we show kindness and firmness when they make?
14. Are we attentive to the quandary that our children may be in?
15. Do our behaviors make us suitable models for our children?

Section 2: Examine Causes

It is imperative that we honestly study our behavior to dig out what mistakes we might have committed so that our children may be more encouraged to come back to us whenever they face any problem.

Although it is difficult to pin-point the precise reasons that discourage our children from discussing their feelings and anxiety with us, there are many common causes that we can scrutinize to enable us to develop appropriate curative plans.

Here are some of the common explanations that discourage our children from sharing their fears:

1. We have not extended to our children our empathy for the problems they face

If our children do not feel connected to us, they may feel that everything we offer is not relevant to their problems and will not be acceptable.

2. Our advice is “lose-lose” to our children

When we give advice, if it proves to be correct, we get the credit, but when the advice turns out to be not successful, they get the blame for not being able to carry it out successfully.

3. They feel stupid when we give them instructions

When the instructions come from us, they do not feel they have ownership. They may also feel that we think they are unable to develop their own solutions. We take on the position of the experts who have the knowledge and wisdom and our children are treated as if they do not have sufficient knowledge or skills to deal with the problems. They may feel insulted and hostility creeps in between parents and children.

4. We Do Not Provide Solutions that are Relevant and Appropriate

This can occur when we assume that we already know what the real issues are before obtaining the details and examining them.

5. We Do Not Really Understand Our Children’s Concerns

If we do not spend enough time and effort to try and understand the things that trouble the minds of our children, how can we know the real problems that affect them?

A typical example may be like this: Our children come to us to express their anxiety over the relationship they have with their friend. What they are really concerned about may be how to salvage the relationship. We, on the other hand, may suggest that they stay away from these friends. We are prodding them to damage a relationship that they want to restore so desperately!

6. We do not appreciate the efforts of our children

When we denigrate their efforts to cope with their problems, they will be discouraged to make efforts in solving future problems.

7. Our children do not need our solution

Sometimes our kids just want to share their problems with us and do not want or need advice from us at all. Any attempt to throw in our solutions will be detrimental to our children’s self-esteem.

Section 3. Recommended Pointers for Consideration

Now that we have considered various possible causes that could discourage our children from sharing their problems with us, I will provide three action pointers for consideration:

1. Understand the Real Issues

We and our children have to take the problems to identify and analyze the crusts of the problems. Encourage them to identify and weigh the various options available. Very often, the solutions become clear.

2. Demonstrate Empathy and Understanding

We must learn to show evidence of our empathy with our children for the problems and difficulties they face so that they feel they are with us and we are with them. It is important to give our children the feeling that we are with them – and not just physically, but also emotionally. In this way, they will be more willing to disclose their true feelings and thoughts and wisdom and be receptive to what we have to offer.

3. Create “Win-Win” Situations

Whenever possible, we want to create situations that are “win-win” for them. For example, we encourage them to develop their own solutions and let them take the credit when they succeed. And they take credit for the admirable efforts, if they fail.

I believe that with careful thoughts and determinations, we can help our children to realize that it’s always good for them to open their hearts and share their problems to us.