Parents certainly go through their share of tough times, such as illness, financial issues and other stressors. Dads and moms often lose perspective on how to encourage their children, especially when they themselves feel overwhelmed or deeply discouraged. With that said, it is completely normal for a parent to feel overwhelmed, fearful, discouraged or even inadequate during tough situations.
Acknowledging these feelings is a great place to start. As parents navigate the grueling duty of facing adversity, they should address any of their child’s concerns by openly discussing with their children what is happening. Remember, children don’t have to understand everything all at once, so use short, clear explanations when sharing details about a difficult challenge.
In essence, just give an honest, age appropriate interpretation of the situation. Sharing struggles with other parents, friends, family, clergy or counselors can provide much-needed encouragement, and parents may even consider seeking out similar sources of support for their children.
By openly expressing feelings and concerns with their children and others, parents are actually demonstrating the ability to effectively communicate, empathize and work through difficult situations.
When children realize that hardships will occur but can be worked through as a family or team, they’ll be better prepared to deal with adversity as they mature into adulthood. —Christina Calk