Advice

How to Guide Your Children Through The Challenges of Growing Up

Being a parent is a huge responsibility, privilege, and wonderful experience for many people. You have the joy of seeing your children grow from helpless infants into responsible and well-rounded adults in their own right. But just because being a parent is a joy, it doesn’t make it easy.

It’s our job to not only watch them grow up but also guide them. A lot of the time, this isn’t easy. The times when your children need you the most can be the most difficult times of their childhoods. 

We can’t protect our children from every obstacle and bump in the road. Bad things are going to happen, and they will have to navigate through different challenges. While you might not always be able to shield them, you can hold their hand so they’re okay at the other end. 

Here are a few of the different challenges your children and family might face, as well as some tips to help you deal with them.

Puberty

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This is one of those things that every child is going to have to go through at some point. But while every child goes through puberty, they might all have different experiences. Some children start sooner than others, and some have a harder time with changes than others. 

One of the best things you can do for your child is to prepare them in advance. Puberty can start as early as 8 or 9 years old, so you should start talking about what to expect from an earlier age than you might expect, especially if you personally went through puberty later in life.

Use simple language that’s easy to understand. You should also use age-appropriate terms but don’t beat around the bush. Be open with your children and speak with medical terms so it’s as clear as possible. Your children might find this embarrassing, and it might not be easy for you to talk about certain changes, but it’s important to be straightforward.

The fact is that if you don’t talk to your children about this, one of two things might happen. They might start puberty and have no idea what’s happening to them, but are too embarrassed to talk to you. This can be unnecessarily traumatic for your children. Or they might learn about puberty from their peers, who don’t know what they’re talking about. This can lead to bullying, anxiety, and confusion.

Bullying and Loneliness

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Speaking of bullying, some children don’t do as well in social settings as others. It’s hard enough for adults to be bullied in the workplace, so it’s even more difficult for children to manage when they don’t have the social skills to navigate it properly.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to tell when your child is struggling with loneliness or being bullied at school. Your children might not be willing to tell you what’s going on.

Be observant and try to be approachable. Spend time with your child, so they are used to talking to you about things. If you notice that they become more withdrawn, sad, or even angry, it can be a sign that something is going on. It’s also a good idea to connect with their teachers, as they might notice issues in school.

If your child is being bullied, help them understand that this doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with them. Try to work with school resources, and focus on protecting your child. Sometimes bullying will fade away over time or is dealt with in school. But sometimes you might have to remove your child from a situation with severe and consistent bullying. 

Kids can be cruel and, most of the time, kids can cope with it and even learn from it. But never let it get to the point that your child suffers mentally and emotionally.

As for loneliness, try to encourage your child to make friends their age. Introduce them to clubs and groups, ideally involving activities they’re interested in. This way, they will meet other kids with similar interests. Even if your child never gets the hang of making friends, you can still help them feel less isolated.

Internet and Screen Usage

Childhoods now look very different from childhoods twenty years ago or so. For starters, there are a lot more screens. The internet can be a valuable tool for children and adults, but it can be dangerous as well.

It’s important to ensure that your children don’t have unlimited and unsupervised access to the internet. Teach your children how to use the internet and smartphones wisely and safely. Explain the dangers. You may need to become tech-savvy yourself to ensure that you’re ahead of the game and can protect your children.

Different families have different restrictions, but it’s vital to set boundaries and stick to them. As your child grows, you can shift the goalposts, but make sure it’s appropriate for their age and their needs.

Death in the Family

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Unfortunately, everyone has to navigate grief at some point in their lives. Depending on your child’s age and their relationship with the person who has passed away, this can be very traumatic and hard to deal with.

It’s always important to help your children understand what’s happening. Younger children might not truly realize what death is, so you have to be patient. Don’t be cruel, but be clear as you explain that your loved one is gone. 

Your children might have feelings that they don’t fully understand and aren’t open with, so you may need to speak with them a few times and check up on them. In some cases, it can be a good idea to introduce therapy to help your child cope.

It’s hard enough to cope with grief at the best of times, let alone when you have to focus on your children’s feelings as well as your own. Simplifying the funeral arrangements by using direct cremation services can make the logistics easier to deal with, which will at least give you one less thing to worry about.

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