How To Help A Child Going Through A Difficult Time Feeling Sad – Vol. 399, February 2, 2017
Unfortunately, we live in a world where the pharmaceutical companies would like you to believe that normal human emotions are no longer allowed to be felt without some drug being seen as the solution. However, drugs are not the solutions in most cases, because these drugs have been found to only work as well as a placebo by both Irving Kirsch of Harvard University and his colleague Walter Brown, of Brown University over 30 years of study.
I would go as far as to say that if we do not allow our kids to understand what normal human feelings are and how to regulate them, we will have a generation of adults that never know how to deal with their emotions. The difficulty with that, is that one has to have the ability to feel one’s emotions to have respectful loving relationships. Our emotions are there to teach us something that we need to learn. Without them we don’t know how to help ourselves.
So, how does one help a child who is going through a tough time?
It begins with being willing to ask the questions that are necessary to find out what is going on with your child. Note the behaviors that you have noticed lately, maybe saying something like, “You don’t seem to be your usual self, is there something going on that I may be able to help you with?” And then you allow as long a pause as necessary for your child to answer you.
Once your child gives you the answer, your job is to listen intently for what they tell you they are feeling. You are going to need to do this from the perspective of understanding that every human including yourself has feelings, and they are what they are, so just accept what your child is telling you, is what they are feeling.
Think about how you feel when someone is validating of your feelings, versus when they sit there and tell you that you aren’t feeling what you are feeling. Healing only happens with validation, so that is the next step. Validate their feelings.
Next, go ahead and ask your child what s/he would like to see happen to help resolve the matter. It is amazing how smart our kids are when we allow them to tell us what will help them to feel better. It may be that they need you to do something for them, or it may be that they need you to help them come up with a plan of action to help resolve the issue. Which ever way it goes is fine. Never, ever push your solutions onto them, because that will only push them away.
In families where divorce has taken place when the child was younger then a teenager, many times they feel they were to blame. That there was something that they did or could have done to stop it, but we adults know that is not the case. So, please take the time to explain that to your child. If a pet of theirs has died, ask them what they need to be at come to terms with its passing. Let them know that you are also sad with the loss of a loved pet.
If the problems are deeper then these sorts of issues, it may be that they could use some counseling. But, in my experience, the most necessary gift that you can give you child, is to care enough about them to love them unconditionally. Respect their feelings and allow them to come up with the solutions that will help them the most. Our biggest problem as adults is that we always think we know what is best, and I am here to tell you that many times we get it wrong, because we have our own agendas and don’t even recognize it
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