As parents we always strive to be the best we can. It is not always easy to keep our kids protected from the bad things that are happening in their little world and they have big emotions to deal with just as we do. It is hard to keep on top of all the changes they go through and how those changes are affecting their mental health and wellbeing.
I am currently going through very big changes in my own personal life and I know for a fact this will impact my daughter in the short or/and long term. In this article we will discuss a bit more on how to help them cope with changes and how to boost their confidence to deal with difficult situations.
We have discussed children’s mental health many times on our blog but this is the first time I can personally relate to a topic. I have one daughter that I adore and will always love and protect. Going through difficulties alone is hard, but as a parent it can be very challenging. I have recently moved to a new area and everything feels very intense and new. Don’t get me wrong, I love changes. But I never thought about the consequences of my choices until I realised I was changing her life too.
My marriage is on the rocks. There is a lot of arguments going on and we are heading to a divorce. Even though the days are mostly quiet and calm, sometimes an argument strikes and as much as we avoid is hard to keep her away from it. And as much as I know that these situations may leave some scars on her, I want her to look back and remember me standing up for myself and being strong. I may get some judgement here, but honestly I am just trying to do my best for her regardless of what is going on around me.
My point is that life happens and unfortunately is not always fun and games and as much as I would love to be able to protect her and keep her away from all the harm I can’t. And I would like to believe that despite the scars I can also plant a seed in her for the future so she can see that whatever life throws at you, you can be strong and look for better outcomes.
So I will not hide my tears or shield her from sadness all the time, because I believe that that can set unrealistic standards in her tiny little head. I want her to see me crying and understand that sometimes we break and it is ok to break. It is ok to feel sad and need a minute to regulate. It is ok to raise your voice and stand your ground and show the world that you will not settle for mediocrity.
As her mum, my job is to show up for her always and understand that some of my behaviour can impact her behaviour and be there to support her and guide her the best possible way so she can trust me and feel safe to share her feelings with me so we can work through it. One of the things I am already implementing, especially during these turbulent times we are currently facing is to check in with her a bit more often. To just sit with her and ask how she is feeling. Or, if suitable, bring up something I may perceive that could have affected her and discuss it.
She is 4yo and still learning to name and understand feelings so is not always easy. She also gets distracted easily which sometimes may help with coping. Maybe that’s her way of saying “Don’t worry, I am okay…look here is bunny” or ” I don’t want to talk about it right now” or ” I don’t know what you are talking about, lets play hide and seek instead”. It is hard to decipher what goes on in their minds and hearts but all I can do is to be open and show her that I am here whenever she wants.
If you are facing any kind of difficulty in life as a parent I want you to know that there are tools to help them cope. There are many books available that are suitable to their ages and explain things in a way that they can understand. Just remember you are not alone and even though we can’t completely protect them we can minimize the effects of this hardships.
There are many ways of empowering children and helping them through hardships. Top psychologist, clinician, writer and media commentator Dr Linda Papadopoulos has co-written her first children’s book, The Happy Confident Me Life Skills Journal, with renowned parenting expert Nadim Saad, founder of The Happy Confident Company. Publishing on 15th September and aimed at 7 to 12-year-olds, this new journal is unique for its hands-on approach and for providing solutions to mental wellbeing issues, many intensified by the pandemic.
The Happy Confident Me Life Skills Journal is based on the latest scientific research. It is designed to help 7 to 12-year-olds develop 10 key life POWERS, such as the Power of Introspection, Optimism, Mindset and Resilience, through highly engaging, creative and thought-based activities.
These POWERS – especially if developed from an early age – are recognised to help children achieve greater levels of happiness and self-confidence both in childhood and adulthood.
Play is scientifically proven as one of the most important ways in which young children gain essential knowledge and skills. In response, The Happy Confident Me Life Skills Journal features over 60 fun, interactive activities that will help children better connect with and develop their emotional intelligence and mental wellbeing.
Linda and Nadim’s decades of clinical and coaching experience combined with the latest research in psychology and neuroscience make The Happy Confident Me Life Skills Journal essential for helping children and families thrive.
Sometimes I catch myself wishing the time would just pass quicker or if I could just skip a few angry episodes of my life mostly because I hate not having the choice to completely protect my daughter. I remember when I realised that sometimes parenting means siting back and watching things unfold naturally and this is just life. Sometimes we have to just move to the passenger seat, relax and appreciate the view out of the window.
We can’t control everything and that is not a bad thing at all. There is always a lesson to be learned or unlearned. Old beliefs will break so you can create new ones and adjust.
We are meant to move and evolve and get uncomfortable so we can grow. Be kind to yourself…be there for your little one…and trust…fully trust that your willingness to make things better will eventually pay off and things will be ok in the end.