With today’s demands, social media, and self-imposed pressure, we need to support and anticipate the mental and physical health of our youth. Many times, parents will tell me they never knew the extent of the issues being reported by their child. Sometimes issues have been going under the radar until a larger more provoking event occurs.
Sometimes it takes all the courage in the world to start a conversation with parents because they think they might get in trouble. Whatever the reason, it’s there. Being proactive and using effective communication and strategies are imperative.
Think about creative approaches to talk about sensitive issues, or, better yet, don’t make them sensitive. Make tough discussions easier:
- Use code words to describe depression or anxiety.
- Try a two-minute venting session without judgment.
- Use a notebook to go back and forth and ask your child creative questions.
- Tell them your favorites and not-so-favorites. Let them ask you questions in return.
Be creative with physical well-being, too. Create a home-made obstacle course in your backyard. Plan a family dance party. Sign up for a 5k or fun run challenge with your child. It can also be the hug that they say they don’t need!
Sometimes the hardest job we have is helping children find their voices and keeping those voices strong. Remember, parents, as difficult as the topic or situation may be, there is nothing you can’t talk about with your child.
Allison Wise, Psy.D., is a Kids Directory contributor. She specializes in services for children, adolescents, and families. Learn about her clinic at WisePsychologicalServices.com.