Life has its challenges and tough moments. There are those things that come along that bring sorrow, tragedy, and unhappiness into our lives. Anyone who is alive experiences those times! But what do you do as a parent when these times come? Do you hide these times and feelings from your children? Do you try to pretend like everything will be all right even when you’re not sure that it will?
I believe that it’s important to be honest with our children. Children are pretty smart – smarter than we give them credit for most times. Usually, they have a hint or clue that something is going on. They might even know what that “something” could be. But oftentimes, they don’t address it because they sense our feelings on the subject.
I would much rather create an environment where my children come to me with their curious nature and inquisitive questions. I’d rather they know what is going on (on a level they can understand) while I am there to guide them, support them and somehow help them understand it. If I don’t share the tough and sad things in life with them, how will they be able to deal with those disappointments and sorrows when they are older? I don’t think they will know how and I would worry that they would be overcome and overwhelmed.
Life gives us many lessons to learn. How great it is when these lessons come for our children while they are still in our homes so that we can be there for them and with them – learning and growing together. We don’t often do them any favors by hiding the ugly stuff of life from them. We don’t want to inundate them with it, or create unnatural fears – but we do want to softly guide them into experiencing and navigating these times.
All children learn from you when you aren’t honest with them about the tough stuff in life is that they can’t trust you. Or, that you don’t trust them enough to share it with them. It’s important to let them know that you realize they are feeling the effects of the situation or circumstance just as you are, and that you value how it may feel being in their shoes. Give them some credit and allow them the chance to show you that they can rise up and be part of a supportive “home team” in navigating life together with you. You may just learn some things from them as you strive to teach them how to learn to be strong when the winds of life blow hard.
~ Dionna Sanchez
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