This Ain’t Your Mama’s Childhood
Are your kids stressed out? Could it be that you’re contributing, despite your best intentions? If you answered yes to either question, read on.
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On the other hand, give a child permission to say no. Time off from an activity can sometimes help reduce stress. And when it comes to activities, try to make sure they’re fun. If the schedule is busy, be sure there is a balance of work and play.
“Think about the values you project and live what you want them to learn,” Klaff says. “Focus less on things and more on shared experiences.”
Above all, talk with your kids.
Communication must be open and honest between parents and children. It is a skill, so it sometimes requires practice. “Listen, listen and listen,” Mullen says, “even if it is not what you want to hear.” Learn to “hear and accept what the child is telling you and not telling you. Children often give parents silent or indirect messages that are important to recognize and bring out in the open.”
Then encourage your child to make independent decisions. Express your feelings as a parent, but allowing autonomous decisions can make a lasting positive impact.
Then give your support. “Your child needs to know that he is not alone and that others are interested in what he is doing,” Traynor says. “Be his cheerleader. Praise success.”
Finally, “Go to the park,” she says. “Have game night, even if it’s only once a month. And laugh together. Because the reality is, life is so fast-paced that, if you don’t make time for it, it just won’t happen.”