They are growing up in a fast-paced world and we as parents are BUSY running through life, that at times seems like we are, dragging our kids behind us just to keep up.
No blame. No judgement.
Life is challenging and I truly believe we parents are doing the best we can with the tools and resources we have.
And the tools and resources we have are generally what we learned from our parents and how they raised us.
I’m not saying how they raised us was good or bad. We should all be grateful and thankful for our parents and the role they played in our lives. But our kids are growing up in a completely different time and so we need to parent differently.
I grew up in a small cul de sac where the majority of the houses were full of young families. I spent weekends and my time after school hanging out in the street, riding my bike with the other kids, playing bull-rush or marbles. My mum would yell out to me when it was time to come in for dinner.
My boys are growing up in a house on a main road. They have bikes but they still have training wheels on them. They get home from school, and unless we are out for a walk or scootering, we are inside doing homework and then they’re watching TV while I get dinner ready.
Times have changed. Life is different.
My concern is our kids are not learning how to deal with their feelings and that’s dangerous. Not only for them and their future but their future society as a whole.
We only have to look at the rates of anti-depressant medication being prescribed to children these days to see that something needs to change.
Devices, technology and social media as a whole is a HUGE beast we as parents are battling with . . . alongside today’s ‘lifestyle’. But that’s another story in itself. For now, let’s stick with feelings.
Now, talking about feelings doesn’t come naturally to me. No surprise I struggled with depression really. I became an expert in burying the intensity of my feelings and in the end those feelings swallowed me alive. But that ‘ugly’ time of my life led me on a path to self awareness and introduced me to therapy.
I love the word ‘therapy’. Sounds so much better and hipper than ‘counselling’ LOL.
Back to my point . . .
One of the biggest takeaways from my therapy sessions is that I need to show my boys how to feel their feelings. I need to teach them how to self soothe when those feelings start to take over and how to talk about those feelings in a way that makes them feel safe and supported.
If I want my boys to grow up to be awesome and contributing members of society, to not struggle with mental health issues and to pursue their dreams and passions, I need to show them that their feelings aren’t weaknesses, it’s okay to cry and it’s okay to not feel good or happy all the time.
If that’s all I achieved as a mum, I’d feel pretty bloody happy with myself.
BUT it’s taken me doing the work on myself to realise this. My role as their mum is to raise them in a safe and supported environment to express themselves. So that when they are teenagers and grown men, they have the tools and self awareness of how to deal with the big things life will no doubt throw at them.
We just need to look at the statistics of suicide in male youth, and men as a whole really . . .
That scares the sh!t out of me . . . especially having two boys growing up in this world where they are already constantly running and racing at the ages of seven and five.
I can hear you saying right now;
‘Sure Renee, I totally agree with what you’re saying but how do I do this? How do I help my kids deal with their feelings when I struggle to do that for myself?’
I hear you! And I’m sure as hell haven’t got it all figured out.
BUT what I know for sure is that the first step is BEING CONSCIOUS of the fact you want better for your kids and that they need YOUR HELP to learn skills around managing feelings.
Once you’re conscious, you’ll start to look at things differently.
You’ll start to pick up on things that your kids are doing and/or saying that are signals from them in needing your time, presence, energy and support. You’ll start to add new tools to your parenting toolbox.
One tool you can add right now is the Kids Feelings Tear Pad:
This tool has a few steps that will help you to have better conversations around feelings with your kids.
This isn’t The Answer or a Quick Fix but it’s definitely a tool that works and can make a difference to the relationship you have with your child.
To sum things up:
- As a parent, you are doing the best you can right now.
- Our kids are growing up in a completely different time so we have to adapt our parenting to support that.
- Helping our kids to deal with and manage their feelings is essential for them to grow up ‘healthy’ and capable of pursuing their dreams.
- Keep adding tools to your parenting toolbox to see what works for you and your family.
- Please know, as hard as it is to parent sometimes . . . okay A LOT of the time . . . your role as a mum is really important but it doesn’t need to be a BIG job. At the end of the day, all our kids truly need is our unconditional love, presence without distractions and lots of our TIME.
So, tell me. What’s one piece of parenting advice that’s really resonated with you lately? Comment below and let’s keep adding to each others toolboxes.
Until next time, take care!