Just recently, I attended a course for parents of teenagers. We are not quite there yet but I can feel it looming in the distance. It was clear that whatever the age of the child there are two important principles in all of this malarky – the ability to have empathy for kids, and to give sympathy to other parents.
We all need other parents support, and sympathy
A lot of the time we spent together on the course was drinking tea or coffee, chatting with the biscuit tin open. Not that different from what we did when our children were babies, just sharing and talking together. It is such a confidence and moral boost to know we are not alone, that others are facing the same challenges that we are, and that some have faced them and emerged the other side still relatively sane….usually ;-)
There were some issues that came up that we haven’t had to deal with yet; like drinking and coming home really late, but we can start building towards how we can deal with those. I realised how angry I can sound when I am scared. Like when my youngest rode his bike over a road junction, and I shouted because I was frightened he was going to get hit by a car. Last week, when the oldest nearly choked, and he said you sounded cross, and I explained to him I was really scared not cross with him, he took that really well.
Empathy is critical
The most important thing to do is to empathise. To put ourselves in our children’s place; this helps us understand how they are feeling.
There can be the good moments; like when they receive an award or score the winning goal, or things that upset them. For example, not being picked for the team, or when they were teased by a friend.
Empathy shows we take them seriously, we are not just dismissing the things that are important to them. As adults, we get wrapped up in what we are doing and we can forget that some of these seemingly small things are a really big deal for our children.
These are skills and issues we can think about with our younger children too. And perhaps use even more as they get older.
It also seems that parent to parent support is important whatever parenting stage we are at; even when they are teenagers!
This is our regular Tips for Parenting guest post by Beckie Whitehouse from Be Confident Coaching.
What’s you top parenting tip when showing our kids empathy – do share with us, all help appreciated!
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