Back to School Edition: Tip #5

ice cubes

Catch up on the first four tips starting here!

Back to School Tip of the Day #5

Keep it cool. Creating an open line of communication between you and your child is SO important.  Investing time in talking and listening when your son or daughter is young increases the chances that you will have a finger on the pulse of what is happening when that kid becomes a teenager. Listening to your child, whether she is crying about a devastating disagreement with her friends, struggling to make a difficult decision, or just laughing about something that happened at school, shows that you want to hear it all, both the big moments and the small ones. It encourages your child to trust you and to seek your advice when times are hard.

But you already knew all of that, right? This is where things get a bit more difficult. Listening, at least for me, is the easy part; controlling my reactions can be very hard, especially when one of my sons is feeling hurt.

Trusting your child is important, especially if he is feeling unsafe, but it is also important to realize that what he shares with you in the heat of the moment is often shaped by emotion. Respect your kids and listen to them and let them know that you appreciate what they share. Help them to brainstorm solutions and teach them how to navigate the choppy waters of relationships. But also remember that children (and even adults) sometimes allow their sadness, anger, fear, or frustration to give them a biased view of a situation. It’s our job as parents to help our kids see the bigger picture, and sometimes that means that they need to accept some responsibility for the situation at hand.

When your child says that the teacher was mean to her, be sympathetic, but don’t lose your cool and rush to call the local news. When your child says that this is the worst school year ever, be understanding, but don’t immediately leave the principal a voicemail with words that are only allowed on television after 10 p.m. When your child complains about other kids or parents, don’t grab your megaphone and announce it to the neighborhood. Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Breathe deeply. Let everyone cool down. Consult others you trust. Take some time to assemble the puzzle before you say or do something that you will need to apologize for later.

Here’s the truth, friends.  In many cases, today’s drama is tomorrow’s “no big deal.”

Unless, of course, you just went Real Housewives in front of the school’s security camera.  Uh oh.  In that case, you’re on your own.

How can you get your child to tell you more about his day?
Join us tomorrow for ideas!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/98640399@N08/9378147944″>Ice 9331</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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