Being a parent isn”t easy. Some days just getting everyone in your family all together at the same time for dinner can seem like the “impossible dream”. Between after school sports and clubs and working and errands and carpools, it”s not surprising that almost half of the parents in a recent survey said they feel a growing distance between themselves and their children.
Today”s children have more things to deal with than kids did even twenty years ago. Drugs, violence, mixed messages in advertising, peer pressure, packed schedules and outside activities all add to the pressure they face. On top of that, we are living in a world of growing unemployment, leaving some children wondering where their future lies.
Growing up is a continual process filled with regular highs and lows. As a parent, it”s expected. But what can you do to help through the tough times they might face down the road of life? Here are some quick tips for those parents that are struggling to understand their changes, both physical and emotional as they grow to young adulthood.
Communicate…communicate…communicate. By this I mean proper communication i.e. the exchange of information which involves LISTENING as well as speaking. No matter how compelled you might be, DON”T INTERRUPT THEM! Let them get the weight of their concerns or problems off their chest without “butting in” irregardless of how upset you might be at what they are revealing to you. Yes, they are letting you inside their small, strange world, so be grateful. It will help to strengthen their trust in you not to EXPLODE on them and further open the line of communication between you both.
Show understanding and compassion…remember, you were a child struggling through the maze of becoming an adult once yourself. Everything is a drama and their perceived world will crumble quickly if you trivialize their problem.
Remember that your children are individuals. They each have their own unique personality traits so don”t compare them…celebrate their uniqueness. To do otherwise is to belittle their importance.
Above all, LOVE them. Everyone makes mistakes, some more serious than others but they need to know your love is unconditional.