They say hindsight is 20/20, and that’s definitely the case when it comes to raising children.
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When we’re in the thick of things, it can be difficult to get a clear picture of our child’s thoughts and feelings. Growing up is hard, and kids sometimes don’t want or know how to share details of what they’re experiencing with their parents.
Reddit user Top-Requirement-2102 recently shared some insights that are helping many other parents right now. As a parent of six kids, they have plenty of experience under their belt, but they were still thrown for a loop when their 28-year-old son shared his version of his childhood.
“In response to a request from me, my oldest child (m,28) sent me an email summarizing the childhood experiences he had to struggle through (and still struggling through),” they wrote. “Four words: I had no idea.“
Based on what they learned, they dished up some advice for parents who are raising kids and teenagers right now.
“If you see perplexing behavior, just assume your child is working through something really hard,” they wrote. “They are not trying to disobey or disappoint you. They are genuinely wrestling powerful drives to learn, to fit in, to explore, and to find acceptance.”
That makes perfect sense, and it’s something we should all keep in mind! Kids are navigating tough waters, and sometimes that takes all of their attention.
The next tip is all about shame. Everyone experiences feelings of shame at times, yet it’s one of the most difficult emotions to talk about. This wise Redditor understands the concept well and encouraged parents to “assume your child will never talk about their shame, especially if you pry. Instead, regularly and openly teach the concepts that will negate the false ideas behind shame.”
Speaking of shame, recalling your own experiences in life can help you better guide your child.
“Take a couple of days with your partner and try your best to remember every source of shame in your life, then ask yourself the hard questions for how you might be perpetuating it with your children,” they wrote. “Make a plan to reject the stupid ideas and traditions behind the shame and invent your own sensible, authentic traditions.”
Finally, a parenting tip for kids of all ages: learning and loving through play.
“Create regular opportunities for non-stressful interactions with your children,” they wrote. “Have 1:1s with your kids, but make sure 90 percent or more are not about teaching or problems, but rather about enjoyment, creativity, play, or just hanging out.”
What great advice for all of us! By examining our own experiences and beliefs, we can end those cycles of negative thinking and shame that we don’t even know we’re perpetuating. Being present and gentle with our kids keeps the doors of communication wide open, right where they need to be.
Share this advice with other parents who are in the thick of it right now.
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