Parenting is a hard task, but it’s one that’s full of rewards too. It can be emotionally draining but give you the greatest joy of your life, and if you’re a parent, you will know this only too well! The everyday role of being a mom or dad is busy and stressful, but there could be times when you have to deal with extra problems on top of the day-to-day care of your child. If you notice a change in your child’s behavior, or you’re concerned they have something on their mind, what can you do to find out what’s wrong and help them through their troubles?
- Spotting the signs
Parents spend their lives trying to do the best they can for their kids, but amidst all the chaos of life as a busy parent, it’s important to be alert for any signs that something is bothering your child. The usual signs are changes in their behavior, including:
- Being quieter or more distant
- Becoming secretive
- Outbursts of temper
- Increased irritability
If you’ve got a teen in your family, these can all be part of the normal changes a teenager goes through on their journey to adulthood, and it can be hard to know when it’s just hormones and growing pains, or if there’s an underlying problem.
If you’re concerned about your child’s behavior, ask them if they’re ok. That sounds simple enough, and in an ideal world your kids would tell you exactly what was wrong, and you’d be able to help. Of course, life is never as easy as that, and even if you have the closest of relationships with your kids, they may still be reluctant to open up about what’s troubling them.
When you communicate with them, make sure they know you’re not criticizing or nagging, but that you genuinely want to help. If they’re afraid you’ll get angry, it can be hard for kids to confess to their problems, so make sure they know you won’t be mad. Even if you do feel mad when they tell you what the problem is, make sure you don’t show it, or next time they’ll keep quiet.
- Dealing with problems
Until you know what’s wrong, you can’t do much to help, so finding out what’s causing your child’s distress is paramount. It’s always better to find a way for them to be able to confide in you rather than spying on them, which diminishes their trust in you. However, if your instincts are telling you something’s wrong, don’t give up. However serious the problem is, there will be a way you can support your child through a crisis. Even if it’s one of the difficulties parents dread, like pregnancy or drug addiction, you can find help for your child and be there for them both practically and emotionally.
Most often, your child’s problems will be ones you can help them with without too much difficulty, such as having troubles at school. However major or minor the problem is, remember that to your child it’s obviously a big deal, so take it seriously and give them all the support and love they need.