The Supportive Parent
Being a parent is hard enough, without having to deal with the harsh realities of life. Here are some tips to overcome trouble spotsBy christina tom jose
Parents would unanimously agree that some topics are just too hard to discuss with kids. Protecting children from the wrongs of the world is their prime concern; and yet, it goes without saying that these children will have to someday face such problems themselves. Trying to paint a rosy picture of the world is more likely to devastate them when such a pretense is shattered by the harsh realities of life. Below are a few difficult topics and ways to help discuss them with your kids:
Some of the worst offenses against children often go unnoticed, mostly because children choose to keep mum about them. Children should feel that they have a safe space at home, where they can discuss anything with close family members. It is always important to let them know that you are open to anything and everything they have to say. Help them understand the concept of personal space; teach them to look out for warning signs among both strangers and close ones. Above all, making your child feel that they are safe and loved is of foremost importance.
Bullying often goes ignored as mere child’s play, yet it is something that leaves lasting effects on a child’s psyche. Sometimes, kids may find it difficult to tell others that they are being bullied because they feel partly responsible for it. Often, they might put up with it because they think it helps to be included in an in-group. They may also fear the consequences of telling on their bullies. It is imperative to give your child positive reinforcement for being ready to talk about it; remind them that they are not the only ones and put their fears rest. Help them fight back bullying, not through violence but proactive steps.
This is another one of those topics that are still difficult even for adults to grasp, let alone children. Their innocent curiosity for things might mean that they ask a lot of questions. It is important that children be informed about mental illness in a very straightforward manner; this becomes even more necessary if any close relatives suffer from such illnesses. Drawing comparison to physical illness is one analogy that would help kids understand mental illness better, presenting it as something curable and unattached to anyone’s personality.
Death is perhaps the hardest for a child to understand. While adults grapple with the emotional pain of losing someone dear, the child is often left upset and confused. In talking to children about death, be sure you tell the truth; a white help is of no help here. Don’t be reluctant to use the words ‘died’ or ‘dead.’ You don’t have to tell them everything all at once, as they may not be able to handle it. Most importantly, don’t hold back your tears; cry with them, and comfort them in their mourning.
Talking to kids about money can be a harrowing task; however, it is not one to be ignored. Spending and saving habits are picked up at a very early age, and it will affect their independent financial decisions later in life. It is natural to have a reluctance to speak to children about money. A simple way to start is by answering your child’s questions about money at the appropriate age. An easy way to do this is by replacing numbers with values and focus on saving, budgeting, clearing debts, and giving.
Unfortunately, climate change comes up as one of the important topics that kids need to know about. By the time today’s generation is up and about as adults, they will be experiencing some of the worst effects of climate change. Kids need to learn about the necessity to conserve from home. The best way is to make such practices a part of everyday life at home. Using environment-friendly products, encouraging kids to separate their waste are some simple habits that will go a long way in building an ecologically sensitive generation. It is quite common to see parents being put in a tough spot when children ask them questions based on what they catch from the news or conversations between adults. Instead of shying away from such queries, use them as opportunities to educate kids about some of the crude realities of the world.
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