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Parenting Tips | Learn to self-care

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Everyone has bad days with children, days when we don’t handle situations well, days when we want to scream and run out the door. It is normal to a certain extent to feel this way. Parenting is the hardest job in the world at times, and the most unrecognised and unsupported. When doing it on your own it can be even more difficult as you don’t have someone who can take over when you feel you need a break.

The lead up to Christmas can pile on additional stress. Our heads can be full of so many issues that when the children start to act up, it can be the final straw. Usually the children are more challenging because they know and feel that you are not present for them. They have needs which are not being met and they don’t know how to tell you about how they feel. All they know is how to act it out.

It is important to put measures in place to help you recognise when you are starting to neglect your own care. We offer ’10 ways to’ care for yourself as a parent:

  1. Learn to recognise your levels of stress. Take time each day to reflect on how you are feeling.
  2. Try to identify things that went well each day, no matter how small they are.
  3. Try not to give all your energy to what is going wrong. Explore who can help you, what steps can you take.
  4. Make a list of the issues you need to resolve. Try to be less critical of yourself. Name the things you are good at, focus on these.
  5. Create time to think and plan – can children go on play dates to allow this happen for you?
  6. Talk with your children about what is going on and help them to form a plan with you. Hear what it is like for them.
  7. Don’t give up. Your children need you and no one can replace you. You need to believe that you are the right person to parent your children.
  8. Join a parenting group to get support from other parents and learn new skills and knowledge which will help you understand your children.
  9. Identify your needs. Where are the gaps? You will need to be creative in finding ways to meet these needs. By parenting yourself you will be able to parent your children.
  10. Seek professional support if you feel really low. Call theaskonefamily helpline to talk with someone. Talking can usually help you understand what is going wrong and what changes you can make. Seek support from your GP or contact your local social worker if you feel you need support around mental health, addiction or abuse.

Remember, there are people out there who can and want to support you to parent. Ask for the support if you can. It does not make you a poor parent if you need to get support from others. Nobody can parent on their own, being brave enough to ask for help and support is what makes you a great parent as you recognise that you and your children need help.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

 

Parenting Tips | How to listen

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Listening is not the same as hearing.  To listen means to pay attention not just to what is being said but how it is being said, including paying attention to the types of words used, the tone of voice and body language.  The key to understanding is effective listening. In this week’s ’10 Ways to’ we look at how to improve listening in the home.

  1. Do I listen? Ask yourself what type of listener you are. Are you focused or distracted? Empathetic or impatient?
  2. Stop shouting: Children do not respond positively to shouting so try always to speak in a calm manner.
  3. Eye contact: When talking to your child, get down to their level and look them in the eye.
  4. Be clear: Do your children understand what you are saying to them? Clarify if needed.
  5. Family meetings: Talk as a family about what not listening to each other causes within the family – ask if everyone would like things to be better.
  6. Reward: Notice good listening and reward it.
  7. Remember: Put a note up somewhere, like on the fridge, to remind you as a parent to listen.
  8. Make time: Make time – at meals, when children come in from school, when parents come in from work – to talk to each other and listen to your children have to say.
  9. Active listening: Practice actively listening to what your children say. Down tools and stop what you’re doing to listen, or ask them to wait until you can give them 100% of your attention (but not too long).
  10. Building relationships: Listening to your child and other family members increases positive behaviour in the home and improves relationships.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

For support and advice on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

Parenting Tips | Helping children to cope with bumps and bruises

When it comes to minor scrapes and falls, some children brush them off easily. Other children stop and seek sympathy with every scratch and scrape. Children can often seek sympathy for attention. Most parents, no matter how busy they are, will stop whatever they are doing when a child cries out from an injury. Children learn very early that crying gets attention.

Another reason for tears after falls is that children enjoy the kindness of the care they receive: the nursing from a parent, the kiss and hug, the plasters. Most children see plasters as the crowning glory for their cut or scrape. The plaster can signal for a number of hours or days that an injury occurred gaining further attention that the child may need and enjoy. Some children have low pain thresholds and any bump or scrape could be of great sensitivity for them. Their coping skills could be very low around injuries or blood and they get upset. The upset could last anything from seconds to an hour or longer.

Most children have bumps and scrapes several times a day so how can you support your child to stay calm and react appropriately to the situation? Here, we offer ’10 ways’ to support your child through minor tumbles and scrapes:

  1. If you have a very young child who is just becoming mobile, try to stay calm when they tumble over. React slowly and check out what is happening as you approach them. Allow them time to assert themselves before you take over. They may recover without you grabbing them up and examining them all over. If they do get up by themselves, praise them by saying “You toppled over but look you managed to get up again, well done, let me check your head for bumps”. This is giving your child attention as required but also letting them know that they have coping skills.
  2. When children do have accidents, focus on what happened and try to console them without scolding them. There will be time later to talk to them about the dangers of what they were doing that led to the accident. When they are hurt is not the time. It is important that the child has not learned that there is more danger is seeking attention than what was inflicted from the injury.
  3. Remember that often the worry of what might have happened becomes bigger than what actually did happen. The fear creates a great level of anxiety for both the child and the parent.
  4. Acknowledge that they are hurt, praise them for bravery and treat the injury. This could be kisses, cuddles or plasters, or all three. Move on. Continue to talk about their bravery but continue to acknowledge the injury if they need that also. Don’t dwell on it. Focusing on other things such as how brave they were helps them to move on.
  5. When it comes to sports, coaches often say that more and more children are leaving the pitch in tears from injuries. Help children to know they will recover and that it wasn’t done in badness (by their opponent). In games tackles are hard but it is part of the game. Help them to understand the difference between intentional and accidental.
  6. Make sure you are giving your child lots of positive attention when they are playing well, helping you, or doing anything about the home and engaging with you. Help your child to see that they have your attention. They don’t need to be injured to gain your attention.
  7. Never withhold attention to an injury as you may miss an actual injury complication. Breaks and sprains are not always obvious in a child.
  8. Explore how you deal with injuries. Do you blame others for causing them? Do you look for sympathy or complain when you get none? We are our children’s role models so our children reflect our behaviour.
  9. Explore self soothing ways of dealing with injuries and feelings of sadness: a special blanket, a hot chocolate, a movie they like to watch. Self soothing is important for when they are older. Help them to find ways to support themselves and they will grown into resilient and strong adults.
  10. Point out to your child how well they cope at so many things in life: going to school, making friends, visiting the doctor and other everyday things. Then reinforce this when small injuries occur. Later you can give them the hug for coping so well when they relay the story of what happened.
  11. Remember, resilience is the key to good future mental health.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 ways to’ parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

For support and advice on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

Parenting | Talking to young children about death

loving-1207568_1920We want to protect our children from hurt and trauma in life but death is as much a part of life as living is. In order to prepare children for life we must prepare and support them to understand and feel comfortable with death. This week, we offer ’10 ways’ to approach the subject of death and ways to support your child when they experience loss:

  1. Dealing with the loss of a pet, such as a goldfish, can be a way to introduce coping mechanisms. Have a light-hearted ceremony of some kind to remember the happy smiles the goldfish brought to the family. Children will handle this in many different ways: some will be fascinated with the science attached to it while others could be in tears for a week.
  2. In the case of a family bereavement, remember that the child has also experienced a loss. They may realise, for the first time, that we do not have everything in our lives forever. They will need support to understand how they are feeling. They may have a very great sense of sadness and loneliness over the loss and it may be the first time they have had this feeling. It is important to reassure them that this is normal and that it will pass.
  3. It is important to nurture them and give them comfort and solace. They will have questions for a long time and this is natural. We all have questions when someone dies. With your support children can cope with death and understand what has happened
  4. It is really important to allow children to experience a family bereavement. They should be included in what is happening to the family. If you try to totally shield your child from the loss they will sense that something has happened and be left with a very worried, empty, anxious feeling. Hiding the truth or excluding your child can cause a break in trust between you and your child.
  5. Allow your child to see that you are upset too. Children will be more confused if you tell them that you are okay when they know that you are not. Remember, children observe everything. Tell them that you feel sad about what has happened. Reassure them that it is okay for everyone to be really sad and that in time things will change again.
  6. Allow your child see the person who has died if they were close to them. Arrange a time when it is quiet for them to come and view the body. This will help your child to understand the permanent nature of death. While they might be initially afraid of the stillness of the body, they will remember that they loved this person dearly. Reassure your child that they are not really there any longer so they won’t be lonely, scared and lost in the box, as some children imagine they are. Telling children that someone has gone to sleep or gone to the sky is almost impossible for a child to understand. You can talk with your child about the spirit of the person if you wish and if this is something you believe but you must be careful that they are able to understand the concept.
  7. The funeral can really support your child to say goodbye just like it allows others to say goodbye. You may also need to do more than this with your child depending on whom it is that died. You can then have a special day each year with them where they decide how best they want to celebrate this person’s memory.
  8. Encourage your child to talk openly about the person who has died. It may take at least six months to recover from the initial shock and up to three years to accept that life is now different but that life will, and does, go on. If you feel after six months that your child is not coping very well with the death then it may be time to seek professional support such as Rainbows Ireland.  They offer free bereavement support for children and young people throughout Ireland.
  9. It can be helpful to create a special book, with pictures and memories of your departed loved, to help your children to remember them.
  10. It is really important that you as a parent seek support if you need to. You won’t be able to support your child if you neglect your own needs. It is very hard to cope with grief so don’t be shy about asking for help.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

For support and advice on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

 

 

Parenting | How to answer the awkward questions?

kids-1508121_1280Children are inquisitive. They love information. They ask constant questions because their minds are continuously processing everything they see and hear. Children come to their parents all the time to clarify the things they don’t really understand. As parents, we want to help our children learn and understand yet sometimes when they ask an ‘awkward question’ it is tempting to gloss over it.

There are so many issues that parents can find difficult to discuss with their children. Depending on our own experiences and beliefs, how ‘awkward’ a question is for us as individuals can vary hugely. For many parents, those awkward questions may include: “Where do babies come from? What is sex? What does gay mean? Why does he have two mammies? Why don’t I have a mammy? Why don’t I have a daddy? Why are some people homeless?”.

This week we offer ’10 ways to’ support us in answering those awkward questions:

  1. Don’t try to fob a child off by changing the subject or saying they are too young. If they are old enough to ask, they are old enough to get some information. By not answering awkward questions and telling children they are ‘too young’ to know such things, we are making taboos of so many subjects that are normal in our society. Children will learn quickly not to ask us anymore, and they may find other, perhaps unreliable, sources to answer their questions. A question will not go away until your child is satisfied with the answer they find.
  2. Be honest in an age appropriate way. This does not mean you wait until they are teens to tell them details (when you may be even more embarrassed). Give children little bits of information to match what they can understand as they develop. Plant the seeds and build the tree over time with them.
  3. At times a question may upset you yet this is no reason to not answer it. You may have to explain to your child that this question makes you a little sad but that you will talk with them about it. A parent absent from your child’s life is often very difficult to talk about and many parents worry that their child will feel the rejection they themselves may have experienced. But remember that children have a different relationship with and perception of an absent person in their life. They will not feel the same as you. Here we explore ways to explain an absent parent.
  4. Be factual and try not to make the information about any subject into a fairy tale. Educate your child about families and all the diverse families in our society.
  5. Try to have an open relationship with your child from the first days. Once they start talking to you, start talking and sharing with them. Remember, even though it may seem a long time away now, you don’t know what choices your child will make as they grow up and you don’t want them to think that you may be unsupportive of them in the future.
  6. Just because you explain once, that probably won’t mean that you’re off the hook. Children take pieces from each and every conversation. Some bits they recall and other bits get left behind. They will ask you again so try to be patient and answer them again. Maybe you can add in additional age appropriate detail the next time.
  7. There are many excellent books out there to support parents in talking with children about almost every topic. Perhaps you can get some books in the library and introduce them during story time.
  8. If your child has wrong information or understanding then correct them from the first error. Try to keep the information clear. Be open and honest or you will only create more awkward situations in the future. Always try to build your relationship based on trust.
  9. At times your child’s other parent might object to you answering these awkward questions. Try to talk with them and help them to understand why it is important to answer your child’s questions honestly. Provided you are sharing age appropriate information then you need not worry.
  10. Seek support from service providers such as One Family if you would you like support in talking with your child about challenging situations. Once you start to talk openly with your child and believe that you are the right person to help them understand the very complex world we live in then it will become easier for you.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Next week we talk about teen relationships and sexuality.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

 

Parenting | Talking to your daughter about her first period

girl-648121_1280Most women will remember when the subject of their period was first broached, usually by their mum or an older female relative. You may recall a fumbling two minute explanation that raised more questions than it answered or perhaps you were given a confident explanation and felt well informed and prepared afterwards. Chances are your ‘period chat’ fell somewhere in the middle. Dads won’t have these memories to draw upon but that doesn’t necessarily put you at a disadvantage when talking to your daughter. The important thing to remember surrounding the subject of periods, and other issues around puberty, is that your daughter feels she can talk to you about it; you are acknowledging that she is maturing into a young woman. Here are some tips around talking to your daughter about getting her first period:

  1. The age at which girls have their first period can vary from 10-years-old to 15-years-old. Girls need to have this chat with parents early on in case they are an early developer. Most of the time, parents will notice that their daughters are developing so they are prompted to explain about periods. Don’t leave it too late, it is important to have the chat in advance of her first period.
  2. Girls who live with mum will have noticed that their mum has a period so the subject will not be a total surprise. Many girls will have spoken to their friends about periods and may have information from friends who have older sisters. It is important that they have the correct information and not just school-yard gossip.
  3. Make a date with your daughter and do something special with her. Talk to her about how much she is growing up and how responsible she is becoming.
  4. In school, many children will follow the Stay Safe Programme in which they talk about their bodies and what they are capable of. Many 10-year-olds know where babies come from so in order to explain periods you need to explain a little more about babies. Fertility is the key message when it comes to periods.
  5. Children like information and they like to know how and why their bodies work as they do. Books can be very useful.  Explain how women and girls creates eggs (ovulate) and what happens to these eggs each month. Don’t make it so complicated that your child will be horrified by the content. Keep it simple but precise and factual. Help your daughter to to see how fascinating it is.
  6. Take them to the shops and show them the different feminine hygiene/sanitary products available and purchase a packet for them to have for the first time. Encourage them to have sanitary products in their schoolbag for emergencies as you don’t know when the first time will be.
  7. Ensure that sanitary products are bought in the weekly groceries. Encourage them to talk openly about periods. Periods do not need to be a hidden part of life although they are private.
  8. Some girls might be horrified at the thought of menstruating and horrified by their period when it occurs. It can take a few years for girls to adjust and become independent around managing their period.
  9. Girls may need pain relief so support them with this but also encourage them to know that life goes on. Try not to allow them to have time off school or activities as this can create a lifelong pattern. Moods can change also so they will need support to manage their emotions.
  10. In common with other aspects of parenting it is about being brave and supporting your child. Whether you are a dad or a mum raising a young girl you should take on the responsibility of informing your daughter about her period. It will give you a special space in your daughter’s life where they know they can talk to you and trust you with their deepest worries and issues.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.

Join the One Family Parenting Group online here

 

Parenting | How to resolve issues with teachers

When issues with your child arise in schoolstudent-1647136_1280 it is important that you, as their parent, are notified. The teacher or principal may contact you to address the issue if they feel it warrants attention but in other cases it may be your child who has an issue with a teacher and comes to you.

When the latter occurs, you can be at a disadvantage as you are emotionally involved in the issue. How you communicate with the teacher or principal is an important factor in resolving issues fairly and promptly for all. Here are ’10 ways’ to support you to resolve your child’s issues with authority figures in school:

  1. When your child tells you of an incident in the school with their teacher, or any school figure, you must sit with your child and hear the full story. Understand the context in which it happened. Ask them to clarify when, and where, it happened and how they felt about it at the time. Talk with them about how they are feeling now.
  2. Only get involved if your child feels they need your support. Try writing a letter to the teacher and request a follow-up meeting. Let your child know that you are going to contact their teacher or principal. Ask them how they feel about this.
  3. While you can become involved, your child also needs to be able to talk to their teacher about what they are not happy or comfortable with in that teacher’s approach.
  4. If your child behaved very poorly stand up and acknowledge this. You are doing them no favours otherwise. Your child should always be treated fairly and with respect and should return this respect to their teacher.
  5. Hearing the other side is important as is getting the school figure to hear your child’s side of the story. If your child has been hurt by the school’s approach, they need to know that fact in order for any change to take place. Let the teacher or principal know that you want to understand the full story and you are prepared to work with them to achieve change.
  6. Ensure that you are not emotionally charged. Think about what you need to say and how you need to say it. Clear and direct communication is the key to assertive communication. Using ‘I’ statements are to be avoided (“I think, I know, I feel, I am etc.) as the tone of these can suggest you are blaming or condemning another person’s actions and conflict is the most likely outcome.
  7. In order to support our children to stand up for themselves and communicate assertively we need to strive to be role models for them. We need to champion them at all times. We need to stand tall beside them and support them. If we don’t support children to speak up and seek the right to be treated with respect they will not know they have this right as they mature into adults.
  8. If you have taken every step to positively engage with the teacher/principal and they are not interested in engaging with you then you need to engage with the board of management. Schools are there to provide a service to children and parents and at times they may need extra resources and support from their board to do this. The board need to be informed if issues cannot be resolved.
  9. Never hide abuse or intimidation in schools. Bring another parent with you if you feel your voice is not strong enough to talk with a teacher. Most teachers welcome parents coming to them with issues when they first happen before they escalate. Do not approach teachers in front of other parents or children. Give them the respect you are seeking for you and your child.
  10. During the course of the meeting, if you really feel that you cannot be supported, then leave. Go home and think about this again. Think about the language you have used and explore if you can change anything in your approach. Talk with a parent from the parent teacher council in confidence. Review the school policies and then try again.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.

Join the One Family Parenting Group online here

 

Parenting | Supporting your children through shared parenting

divorce-156444_1280According to The United Nations Rights of the Child, it is the right of the child to have contact with both parents after parental separation; yet many parents see it as their right, as parents, to have contact with their child.

When it comes to contact with children, mums can hold the power from day one: they carry the baby for nine months so straight away they make the very first decisions about the baby. All too easily, fathers can take a back seat in parenting and when a separation occurs they can struggle to assert their position as an involved father. So many separated fathers, whom I work with, want to be hands-on fathers. Men are as capable as women but culturally we are often led to believe they are not.

It is not good for children to see two parents without equal status. If society doesn’t encourage fathers to play an active role in parenting then we are not allowing children the full opportunities they are entitled to: the right to both parents provided it is safe for the child.

We need to separate out poor partners from poor parents: it is a different relationship. Children only have two biological parents; allowing them every opportunity to have a relationship with both parents is important to the positive outcome of their lives. Here we offer ’10 ways’ to support your child through shared parenting:

  1. Explore what prevents you from allowing the other parent to have an active parenting role. Is this a genuine concern based upon facts or an opinion you have formed? Does your child feel safe and happy with the other parent? Try to follow their lead. Take small steps to try and build confidence in their ability.
  2. Start with small steps changes in contact. Talk with your child about what they would like to happen.
  3. Reassure your child that you trust that their other parent loves them and therefore you want both parents to be active in their life.
  4. Ask the other parent to do practical things to support parenting rather than only getting involved for the fun parts.
  5. Allow them to have opportunities to take children to and from school, to the doctor, the dentist and to after-school activities. Your child only has one life, it does not need to be separated into mum’s time and dad’s time.
  6. Share practical information with the other parent about your child’s development and everyday life. Know what stage your child is at. Don’t expect to be told everything, find things out for yourself, ask questions, read up on child development and talk to the school if you are a legal guardian.
  7. Pay your maintenance and don’t argue over the cost of raising a child. If you receive maintenance be realistic about what the other parent can afford. If you were parenting in the same home you would do everything you possibly could to ensure your child has what they need. It cannot be any different just because you parent separately.
  8. Buy what your child needs and not what you want to buy for your child. It is always lovely to treat children but not when it means they have no winter coat. Talk with the other parent about what the child has and what they need.
  9. Ask your family to respect your child’s other parent. They are, and always will be, the parent of your child. Children need to know that family respect their parents. It is not healthy for the extended family to hold prejudice over parents.
  10. If you are finding it really difficult to allow your child have a relationship with their other parent, seek professional support to explore the reasons for this. There is obviously a lot of hurt and I am not dismissing this in anyway but if you can move on you will allow your child to have positive experiences.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.

Join the One Family Parenting Group online here

 

Parenting | How to support your child when they struggle to fit in

left-out-624736_1280I often meet parents who tell me “My child really dislikes school because they feel that they don’t fit in”, or “My child wants to be part of this group of children in school but they have been left out.”

When children move into primary school the main aim they have is to make friends. We may think school is about education, and of course it is, but children also learn about relationships. Children who enjoy school usually name seeing their friends as their number one reason for liking school.

As adults we know we don’t have to follow the crowd, we can be our own person. But we also know “no man is an island” − we cannot live in isolation. We need to be part of relationships and part of groups. Here, we offer ’10 ways’ to support your child if they are finding it difficult to fit in:

  1. Unfortunately, the choices we make as parents can affect how well our children fit in. For example, when my daughter was about nine years old she asked me for a mobile phone. Initially I refused until she said to me “Mum, do you want me to be a geek or do you want me to have friends?” After that I did explore all the options around how I could facilitate her to have a phone rather than impose a blanket ban on phones. I realised it would be possible to manage as her main aim was to stay part of the group − she didn’t particularly care about the phone.
  2. Support your child to form friendships by connecting with other parents. For children, parents are very much responsible for choosing what groups they will be part of. Encourage your child to join an activity that children from school attend. This will give you an opportunity to meet parents and children. Once you start to meet the other parents you can form relationships and make play dates.
  3. Invite different children over for play dates. Do not get into a pattern of choosing the same child each time. (Read our top tips on play dates here.)
  4. Watch your child with other children and try to identify what they struggle with. For example, if you notice your child watches other children play but doesn’t join in, ask them what stopped them from joining in. Encourage them to participate by telling them how clever they are, how funny they are, and how much you enjoyed playing with them.
  5. Try to be honest in watching your child’s encounters with others. They are learning to socialise and they may have developed some behaviours that other children don’t like. It is better to recognise and name these behaviours and support your child with them as it will allow them to move on and form friendships in the future. You can still think your child is the most wonderful in the world but that doesn’t mean they have it all figured out.
  6. Help your child find their voice. If you think your child is shy, help them to find a way to interact with other children. They need to be able to approach other children and become involved in the game. Children can be very bossy and if your child is not familiar with someone telling them what to do they may shy away from this. Role play different scenarios and help them to find the words to engage with children in different situations.
  7. Your child doesn’t have to be friends with everyone but they should feel comfortable to engage with everyone in the class. Young children move around friends so don’t expect them to remain friends with one particular child. It is not that they are not loyal, it is because they are exploring and learning. They will have a range of needs that are met by different children and they will move in and out of these needs.
  8. All children are coming from different homes with siblings, younger and older or none. They all have different skill sets to bring with them to school so don’t let your child feel they have nothing to offer or that other children are better than them. Help them to see their talents and skills. Every child has an abundance of them. Be creative with your child in pointing them out and help them to name their own talents.
  9. Confidence can prevent children from joining in so support your child in this area. A few knock backs can greatly reduce confidence so don’t ignore it. Name what you see in your child and make time to talk with them about it. Work on it at home and talk with the school if you ever suspect bullying.
  10. Monitor your behaviour too. You can only bring your child’s confidence to the same level as your own. Exploring your own needs will also support your child on their journey.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.

 

 

Parenting | Supporting your child when they can only see failures

success-1123017_1920Success and failure starts at a very young age for us all; starting with learning to crawl and walk, we constantly deal with successes and failures throughout our lives: passing exams, getting onto the team, winning medals, getting a place in college, securing a job, etc.

As a parent, it is heartbreaking to see your child hurt because they think that they have failed. How can we protect our children when we see them suffering? Here are ’10 ways’ to support your child when they suffer the setback of perceived failure:

  1. The first step should be to sit with them and listen without judgement. All you can do is listen and name the feelings and clarify what you are hearing. Help them to make sense of what is happening. Help them to see the picture more clearly and allow them to make their own plan. By wrapping your child up in cotton wool you are disarming them instead of making them stronger. Life will have many challenges for them so you must help them to see and believe that they do not have to face them alone.
  2. Look at what went wrong. Explore the choices they made and why they thought that choice was the right one for them. Empower them to come up with new plans. How could they do it differently next time?
  3. Older children do not want their parents to protect them, they often want to fend for themselves. However, if they suffer a knock to their confidence, you need to recognise when to step back in and help restore their confidence. Reassure them that family is there for them.
  4. Talk to them about the need to develop coping skills. Help them to identify the skills they need to cope with the stresses of life. Life will throw many challenges at them from relationships to college, exams and the workplace.
  5. As parents, we have to explore how we see things. Do we ourselves look at life as a series of successes and failures?
  6. We need to explore how we cope with really stressful times. Do we talk about it and ask for help or do we close down. Help your children to see from a very young age that talking it out is always helpful.
  7. If you are really concerned for their wellbeing, you may have to insist on them visiting a GP or counsellor. Getting professional support can be a good choice. Many young people may see counselling as an American concept from television. Talk to them about the benefits of getting support from the right professionals and that they need not feel any stigma attached with engaging in services. Jigsaw provides free, confidential mental health support for young people aged 12-25.
  8. It is important to always actively listen to our children. Hear what they are saying, get to know them and how they think. Allow them talk and tell their stories. This will support them to come to you when they are older. If you consistently jump in and tell them what to do they may choose not to come to you as they grow older. If you don’t know there is a problem how can you help? You are always the best person for your child to come to.
  9. We must teach our children that life is actually not about success and failure but about trying our best, learning and trying again. Do not give up.
  10. When there are such challenges going on for a child, a teen or young adult, it is really important to look after yourself. Talk with family and seek professional support for yourself so you can stay strong and be there for your child. Remember, parenting your child starts with parenting yourself.

This ’10 Ways to’ article is by One Family’s Director of Children & Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, as part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips. You can read the full series here.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or on 01 662 9212.