Below you will see how to help kids by understanding how our own emotional well-being impacts them!
Raising children is a significant task that is both rewarding and challenging. A lot more parents are considering therapy for their child or teen because they believe the child needs additional support. While therapy is certainly a great opportunity for a child to learn new skills, parents can benefit from truly understanding how much their own behavior and emotional well-being can impact both their child/children’s development but also their relationship with their child/children. We are always modeling how we express our feelings! Even when we think that they are not watching….they are.
Somethings to keep in mind as your child goes through the therapeutic process:
- Stay calm and be a positive example for your children. Parent’s reactions teach children how to react. If a driver cuts you off and you cuss them out (yes, we have all done this before, well most of us), your child is learning that yelling when you are angry is the way to deal with anger.
- Learn patience: children observe and internalize attitudes and language that is used in the household.
- Collaborate with your child or teen when it comes to problem solving. Help them learn critical thinking skills by asking them open-ended questions about whatever problem or challenge they are facing. This teaches them to take a moment to think about what is going on and they get an opportunity to learn first-hand how to solve problems. Your questions/comments become their questions/comments over time so be careful when you speak.
- Adjust your unspoken expectations (yes, we all have them) around being appreciated. Remember that children and teens are operating from their perspective and may not understand how much hard work you do,as a parent, to provide for them. Seek validation from significant others, family, friends, and yourself. Know that you are not alone in this.
- Understand that children and teens are learning. Raising kids is a journey. If our children knew how to behave or fully understood how to be responsible, they would not need parents or other adults teaching them. They are not mini-adults right now, nor do we necessarily want them to be- they need to learn to be kids first which entails them making mistakes, not appreciating us and not understanding all of the sacrifices we do for them.
- Young people are allowed to have bad days. We all have emotions and make bad decisions. Focus more on teaching your child to learn & grow from their bad days, not so much on being punitive.
- Take time to recharge and practice self-care. Being a parent is hard work. Add in career, extended family, friends, and you are looking at one stressed out mama or daddy! Be intentional about having “you” time and time with your spouse and friends.
- Spend quality time with your children. The key word is quality time. That means be intentional about scheduling time or prioritizing activities to do with your child. If you have multiple children and cannot find the time for one on one, be sure to make that time meaningful for each child.
Lastly, what you do or don’t do now, will have an impact on your children. Have an open mind and ask for help.