Wake up parents! Wake up to the emotional needs of the children, who often find themselves lonely at heart because parents are busy with their careers. It’s an earnest desire of the parents to earn every luxury for the child, but what if the child becomes a victim of depression in the process? Money cannot always secure emotional well-being. So slow down and listen to the kids; delve into their world by talking to them and encouraging them to talk in turn.
Our kids live in a world full of direct and indirect dangers. They are neither safe at home nor outside. We may know all the friends of the child, but we do not and cannot know every acquaintance of the children, outside home. Cases of sexual abuse of kids at school and other places are increasing. Internet bullying is becoming common and young teenagers are falling in and out of relationships, all leading to either depression or crimes of passion. The net can be easily kept a secret if parents are not tech-savvy enough! It is thus difficult to keep track of all the happenings in the child’s life. More so if both parents are working. When both parents are in stressful jobs, slowly a lack of communication develops as the kid often retreats in his own world, not wanting to burden the parents with his problems. Also, working parents who get less time to spend with the kids often miss out on the essential symptoms in the child which lead to problems like depression, drug abuse etc. Talking to and listening to the child is the best way to keep track of the major happenings in the child’s life. Some simple ways to befriend your kids are discussed here.
A strong family bonding-
The family should be like a single strong unit and not a collection of separate individuals, all having a separate life of their own. Children feel the most secured when their parents share a loving, caring, understanding relationship with each other. When they see their parents sharing and discussing each other’s problems as well as happy moments, they too feel free to talk about their feelings. A loving family atmosphere encourages mutual conversations.
Secondly, whatever you do, do as a family, so that kids feel themselves to be an integral part of the family. Avoid functions where you have to tell the kids that it is only for adults. This way the child will know that whatever you are doing you are doing for their good. They will not only respect you but also let you know what they feel.
Make talking to kids a habit-
You cannot start talking to teenagers all of a sudden. Instead, make talking a habit right from the child’s infancy. Even an infant responds to the mother’s talk, which enables the mother to know what the child wants. As the child grows narrate anecdotes from your own childhood with which she can relate to. Tell her stories and let her speak in between. Kids often come up with incidents in their life similar to the one in the story or whatever you are telling. You can narrate little incidents from your own day’s work at office or home to make them come out with their happenings at school or playground. This mutual sharing should become a habit.
Listen to the kids-
Whenever the child is saying something give him full attention. The child should not at anytime get the feeling that his talks are uninteresting for you. If you are really too busy and you know its not something urgent that the child needs to say, tell him the reason and assure him that you will listen to him as soon as you are done with your work. It is very important for the child to know that you will genuinely listen to him. If you listen and help the child when he is young, he will develop the confidence to confide in you as he grows older may have more serious concerns to share. So listen to the kids to encourage them to talk.
Listen to all that the child has to say as soon as he returns from school. Do not shut him up and say have your lunch first; because kids are most eager to tell about the happenings of school as soon as they return. You can get many clues of his joys and concerns and friends and foes at school from these excited narrations. A good counselor is always a good listener first!
Show your affection-
As the child grows he will try to hide certain feelings or things which he knows is wrong and may anger or hurt his parents. Cases of bullying, child abuse, a sense of failure in some field like academics or broken relationships largely fall in such category which kids find difficult to tell. Parents have always to be watchful for any little symptom of unhappiness in the child. Sometimes a simple warm hug makes the child pour out her heart and all that is troubling her. Other times she will have to be prodded, but lovingly. If she knows that as a little child she was not scolded or punished severely for some mistake, but lovingly made to see reason in the wrong deed, she will be more forthcoming in telling you what had happened.
Talking and preaching-
Talking should not be always like preaching. Talk as if you are friends. Even when you are trying to explain something serious, talk in a casual, loving, less authoritative way. As the child grows, talk to him/her about the possible dangers that can happen. When he is playing a simple game on the net, you can tell him the dangers of net as you play along with him. As you bathe a child of about five or six years age, tell her/him that it is not okay for anyone other than the parent to touch certain parts of his/her body. If anyone does so, she should inform the parents. Grab the opportunity to explain the serious concerns of life whenever you find the situation relevantly less stressful.
Talk to the kids as you work and talk as you play. Listen to what they have to say! Befriend the child! The child should always be assured of your presence and help whenever they need it. Otherwise the tendency of teenagers is to turn to friends, who are equally immature to handle difficult situations, for emotional support and help. Don’t just be an earning parent. Be the most trusted friend and couseller for your child and guide them towards a safer life.