Do You Know Your Child?

Mother and daughter together laughing while talking

I bet you can remember those who really took the time to get to know you. Was it a friend, teacher, relative? I’m sure we can say there are a few people out there who really wanted to know who you are as a person. This topic of conversation becomes important as adults while we navigate through life and start to understand who and what matters. I don’t remember asking myself this question at 10 years old, but that was a different time. Children today are asking this question now. As parents, we should be first on the list of knowing who our children are and what’s important to them. I must say in the last 25 years or so, this has become a more relevant conversation.
I read an article today on mental health in my local paper. Those of us who follow psychology know that mental health is a real illness and the statistics are alarming. I am writing about my thoughts today, so I won’t get into too many details on this matter. One detail of the article stated the suicide rate for the state was 13.8% and my county was 15.1%. Whoa!!! What the hell is happening to our world??? The article was primarily about children between the ages of 12-16 and how mental illness is more prevalent now more than ever. Clearly, just watch the news… Not sure about that statement, we are just more aware now. The bottom line, there is not sufficient funding to take care of these children, so they go untreated. Folks, I’ve got to tell you this is scary! So, what can we do?
I’m not a doctor or clinical professional, but I am a mom and we tend to notice things first in our children. Now, can we be in denial? Absolutely, but 9 out of 10 times we see it before anyone else. The precious angels we brought into this world are so perfect in our eyes and this world can destroy them if you are not careful. We must take the time to get to know our children in every way. It’s pretty easy when they are toddlers and young adolescents, but things start getting hairy around 10. They start learning who they are and become more independent, which is great. Don’t take your eye off the prize at this point! Find a way to share their world and be involved every step of the way. You can very easily be involved without being a “helicopter mom”. This is a very delicate dance of teaching them to be independent, but run things past you before they leap. The relationship becomes one of a mentor and that is what you want as they grow older. Gone are the days of “you do what I tell you because I am the parent”. My mom would so kill me right now…lol! You respect them enough to allow them to make choices and they respect you enough to get your input. Sounds good huh, I know…lol! It is not easy… Children are like snowflakes, no two are the same. This worked on my 21 and 16 year old, 13 year old not so much. We had to find other ways to cultivate the relationship with him. That’s another blog for a different day.
My point… communicate with your children. Ask them open ended questions to make them think and solve problems, talk to them about their hopes and dreams, let them make choices within reason. If it does not line up with what mom and dad planned, it’s ok. Teach them how to live a well balanced life; it’s not all about work, money and cars. You stop and smell the roses with them, so they understand what it is supposed to look like. There is enough pressure in today’s society and coming home should be their safe haven. Children should not be having anxiety attacks at 11 over bullies and standardized test… not my words it was in the article. Seriously??? Children should be having meltdowns over not having ice cream.
I can promise one thing, if you are engaged you will see things in your children before anyone else and before it becomes a problem. It is our jobs as parents to raise our children to be responsible adults in this society. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart and why I created Balancing Act Pro, so this is only part 1 of Getting to Know Your Children. Raising kids is a very sensitive subject and there are many ways to achieve the same goal. I hope you will continue to follow along as I share my journey and how I learned to achieve a balanced life.

Coach “K”

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