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When a child changes
Yesterday, I went to the confession room of women – the place most women go and feel comfortable letting their hair down. A place where you can ask a question and receive the counsel of other women – The Beauty Shop! Well, it was one of those days and the topic of discussion was our children. To be more specific – what do you do when your once seemingly sweet, got it together, follow the rules kid changes.
Well the change can vary from sweet and innocent to being on a rampage, a honor roll student to a below average student, from caring and outgoing to withdrawn and sad. Caretakers find themselves frustrated, stressed, and confused. No matter the change, there are steps that are imperative that the caretaker must take immediately. (I chose the word caretaker because biological parents are not the only ones taking care of our children these days).
First, don’t be afraid to go to an –ist…psychiatrist, therapist, neurologist, or your family physician. Some people think these are dirty words and going to see an –ist makes you crazy. When you feel pain in your body you pick up the phone to call a doctor but when you or your child experience mental pain the reaction is don’t call the doctor. Maybe some people think it will disappear in time or it is simple growing pains. Again, see an –ist!
Next, listen to your child! If they say they are stressed, tired, or confused or exhibit signs of change in behavior, listen!
After you listen the next step is to comfort. No matter the age we all want a hug or to hear the words I love you. Remember to hug early and always. Sometimes, I run up to my son (he is 18) and just hug him – he could be doing the dishes or on the computer – I hug him - always. As you know I have little ones and I hug them early on!
Also, get involved in their lives. Don’t allow the TV or video games to raise your child. Spend time with them as much as you can because soon they will want to spend more time with their friends. Then they will be grown and be out of the house before you know it. So, even if it causes your eyes to burn from sleep deprivation go to their special events and hang out with them. Heck, even learn to play those video games. Strive to spend at least one weekend a month doing some type of family event.
Lastly, what your ever do always speak positive words! As an educator I see parents who break their child down worse than the world does. Parents should bring security and home should be a place of refuge. So build them up with positive words no matter what you think of their behavior or attitude.
Now don’t get me wrong discipline and consequences play an important role but you have to have balance.
One step at a time…hand in hand.