Being a parent can’t be taught by reading a book nor is it taught in school, in most cases a person enters the role of the parent without prior preparation, but rather by embracing the cultural and social atmosphere of his environment. The initial impression depicts the pastoral image- a joyful baby with adorable dimples, a happy and harmonious family. But life constantly throws life events your way that require your immediate attention to the situation, the child and your surroundings. When a parent is met with an unusual situation he won’t have time to listen to lectures, read an educational book or even look for a quick solution on the Internet. The Parent must respond quickly in order to control the situation and mitigate the anxiety of the people involved.
How will you react when your child wakes you up every night because he is afraid of falling asleep alone in his room, and can only fall asleep with you in your bed?
How will you react when your child won’t to go upstairs alone to fetch the Legos since he fears there is someone hiding up there?
How will you react when a new baby is born into the family, and from that moment on your child begins consistently throwing fits?
We have selected a couple of common examples for situations that stimulate an immediate spontaneous reaction, intended to protect the child and prevent unnecessary suffering, but may not always be the most appropriate.
Apart from being the important parent figure, a parent can be young or old, an employer or employee, focused or distracted, alone or together, going through a stressful time or at a relaxed place in his life etc. Every parent will respond differently to different situations, moreover, the same response won’t necessarily fit culturally and morally to the situation or the child. It is highly important to adjust the response to the child’s needs, the circumstances and the environment in which the child lives.
The relationship between the parent and the child is one of the first things examined. The relationship tells us about family dynamics, the atmosphere at home, limits, if there are any, while all of these point to the great impact and importance that the parent’s behavior and their relationship with their kids have on their kids life, adaptation and proper development.
There is an understanding among professionals in the field of therapy and education, regarding the proper response in common subjects related to raising children.
Parent response to children’s fears
Don’t underestimate a child’s fear, don’t show contempt, don’t make fun of him, and don’t tell him that it doesn’t even scare you. Don’t tell him to just stop thinking there are monsters under his bed, or that you once thought that as well and now you don’t. It won’t help him overcome his fear.
If you want to help him overcome his fear, talk to him calmly, find out what exactly he is afraid of. Why is he afraid? What does he think might happen? Explain that not everything that is scary is dangerous, tell him that he is dealing with fear and not with danger and that you are here to help him, and together you will defeat the fear!
If your child can’t bring himself to talk about the fear, ask him to draw it.
Concealing information from your children or providing contradictory information
When something happens in the family, someone is sick, going through a rough patch or dealing with relationship problems…your children will pick up on it without you even talking to them. Yes, kids are experts at picking up social cues. Explain to them in a manner they relate to, that this is not a simple time for you, however you are doing your best to deal with everything and that they have nothing to worry about. If the parents are planning on separating, and the child is present during many arguments, you should tell him that mom and dad aren’t getting along lately, and they are trying to resolve their differences.
You shouldn’t tell a child that “everything will be ok and they have nothing to worry about”. Kids usually pick up on more than us parents assume. When we are straight with our children they will, in response, be straight with us, and vice versa: if you conceal information, don’t be surprised when your children do the same.
Explaining in an age appropriate manner, that the parents are dealing with a difficulty, will teach the kid not to be deterred by struggles.
Jealousy among siblings
A family without a trace of jealousy among siblings. Know any of those?
Usually the birth of a new sibling into the family will bring forth some jealousy. Naturally the parents will be busy with the newborn and not have as much free time for the older kids.
Jealousy is influenced by a person’s character. Some are prone to jealousy more than others, but jealousy is a feeling! Don’t tell your child he has nothing to be jealous about, that you spend plenty of time together, or that it’s all in his head.
Tell him that you understand he’s jealous and that it’s natural. Ask what he would like to do about it. Tell him that for you too the family dynamics have changed and that it is an adaptation for you as well.
Ask him what he feels he’s is missing, or what he feels has changed. Tell him that a newborn is a big change for you as well, and describe what it will be like from now on, how you will all get used to the new situation and help one another.
It’s Your Turn. What do you think?
How do you handle jealousy and fear in your family? Share your experience and insights in the comments box below, feel free to ask us any question!