5 Bad Experiences and Tips To Guide Your Child Through Them
Issues like feeling lonely in a new school or separation from grandparents may seem trivial to elders but can be distressing to a child. Here's how you can guide your child through such ordeals.
By Jasmine Kaur
Life is all about experiencing every moment. And, while doing so, along with good experiences, we also have bad ones.
As adults, we are better able to handle the negative effects of bad experiences. But, this is not so with children. They need to be guided on how to overcome bad experiences, and emerge stronger and better.
Therefore, as a parent, it is important for you to know how to help your child get over such instances. Here are five common childhood ordeals that every child comes face to face with at some point in life, and tips on how to help her deal with them:
1. Failing to succeed: Every child experiences failure, not just once but quite a few times, in life. Therefore, learning to handle this the right way is very important. Sometimes, a child may not succeed in several areas — from sports to academics to relationships. This can fill him with disappointment and make him feel miserable. If this is left unaddressed, he may also begin to fear failure, which can make him reluctant to try anything.
- How to guide your child through failure: As a parent, you need to make your child understand that the result is in no way a reflection of the individual he is. Emphasise that this does not mean your child has failed as a person. Also, tell your child that he cannot win every time. Instead, urge him to think about what happened and look at how he can improve himself.
2. Being bullied: While we are doing a lot to put an end to bullying, it is still widely prevalent, not just in schools but also in other places like play areas. It can be a very traumatic experience for a child. It can lower her self-esteem and also give rise to psychological issues like anxiety and depression.
- How to help your child tackle bullying: To make your child speak up about the problems she is facing outside the home, you should make it a point to bond with her. During conversations, explain what bullying is and the various forms it can take. Teach her how to handle bullying — for example, she could stay with a group, ignore and move away from a bully; assert herself in a respectful way or, seek help from a responsible adult nearby.
3. Change of home/school: While change is inevitable, children may find somethings difficult to cope with, such as moving to another home or school. The thought of leaving behind friends and familiar surroundings can be stressful. Also, trying to settle down in the new, unfamiliar environment with strangers can make a child feel lonely and lost.
- How to help your child cope with change: The best possible thing you can do is to prepare your child before the change actually takes place. Encourage your child to talk about himself and his worries. Listen to what he says and offer him choices. Motivate him to look at it positively by pointing out that he will have new opportunities to explore and experience. During such times, it is also helpful to hold on to old traditions/rituals that you follow as a family, such as going to a park together every Sunday. This ensures there is continuity and will help your child feel more anchored and secure.
4. Suffering a loss: It could the loss of a friend, a pet, a family member, or even, an object your child was deeply attached to. While some children get over the grief, some need help to overcome it. The sorrow caused by a loss can affect a child in many ways and may lead to sleep problems, lack of concentration, or withdrawal.
- How to help your child cope with loss: While the adage 'Time heals everything' may be true, you need to begin the healing process. Speak to your child and try to explain to her what has happened using age-appropriate language. Connect with your child to understand what she is going through and validate her feelings. Assure her that, you will get over the difficult period together as a family.
5. Having health problems/undergoing hospitalisation: It is not as common for young children to suffer from grave health issues or undergo hospitalisation. But, if it does happen, it can be very disturbing for the child, and you as well. The treatment regimen, disruption of normal routine and the worried faces of parents can make a child feel distressed.
- How to ease your child's hospital anxiety: When parents look extremely upset, it can have a profound effect on children. It makes them feel anxious as well. So, although you may be feeling tense, try your best to appear calm and in control in front of your child. Tell your child about what is happening or will happen — for example, will he be given an injection, will he have to get admitted and stay overnight, will doctors conduct tests, so on. If your child has to stay in hospital, try and distract him or take his mind off the situation by telling him a story, playing music or reading a comic together. Also, try to ensure that he feels as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
There is no greater comfort for a child than knowing that her parents understand what she is going through. When you are there to support her, your very presence will reassure your child and make her feel loved. Then, even difficult times will not seem quite so hard to handle or overcome.
About the author:
Written by Jasmine Kaur on 27 September 2018.
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