Q6) What would be some useful tips to make our child comfortable to talk things out?
(The full question is: In this day and age, children face all forms of pressure and stress. What would be some useful tips we as parents can adopt to make our child comfortable to talk things out and not take drastic measures or actions?)
Acknowledging that children do have stress in their lives is a good first step. When these pressures or stresses becomes overwhelming, anyone including adults would cave in. On the other hand, everyone needs some stress to perform better. Knowing the balance is always a challenge but there are ways to help our children cope with stress in their lives.
One quality that will help children cope better with stress is resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. This ability is nurtured when a child has a hopeful optimism, healthy self concept and affirming support from care givers. Some possible ways to nurture resilience in children would be :
a. Establish a healthy bond with your child from young by spending lots of time with them and communicating with them. This help a child feel loved and valued.
b. Make an effort to affirm their progress and achievements, including small ones, to help them build a healthy self concept and confidence.
c. Challenge growth but instead of setting a bar too high for your child, allow your child to set his or her own goals.
d. When your child encounters any failures or adversity, respond to him/her empathically by validating their feelings. Then offer your support by jointly looking for possible ways to overcome the adversity.
e. When your child managed to overcome an adversity, celebrate that success and create an awareness of his/her successful efforts by asking “how did you managed to do that?”. This helps a child to gain confidence in overcoming future adversities.
At the end of the day, resilience is the ability to have an accurate self-concept when in distress. A lack of confidence or hope in a time of adversity drastically warps that perception.
This answer is written by Edwin Choy, the co-founder of Centre for Fathering. He has been married for 33 years to Lay Koon and is a father of 4 children from 21-29. Edwin’s work involves preparing couples for marriage, counselling, giving talks and conducting workshops on marriage enrichment, parenting, fathering, work-life balance and solution focused programmes for the work place. He also appeared numerous times on radio and conferences to speak to thousands on fathering and parenting issues in Singapore.
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