One of the hardest things about parenting is knowing that you can’t protect your children from everything the world will throw at them. It is very easy to hope that if you don’t talk about the difficult things, they won’t happen.
Sadly, most kids will face difficulty as they grow up. The “usual” challenges during adolescence like managing relationships and trying to find your place in the world are hard enough. In an increasingly digital world, kids also come into contact with more adult information earlier in life.
Growing up today is different than growing up at any other time.
It is paramount that parents learn how to provide concrete support during times of need.
The five protective factors that parents can provide their children to help them develop resilience (the ability to overcome any challenges in life that may come their way and thrive) can help prevent the development of mental or behavioral health issues. These protective factors can also help kids form healthy relationships.
The first of these protective factors we’ll be covering is concrete support during times of need.
How Parents Can Provide Concrete Support During Times of Need
The level of support needed from parents will differ from one child to the next. Whether it’s a loss of a sporting event, a quarrel with a peer, a traumatic experience, or a failed test, kids require concrete support to help them overcome any setbacks and learn from their experiences so they can continue to grow into healthy, successful adults. Providing concrete support for their basic, social, and emotional needs are essential.
The foundation of providing concrete support during times of need involves first ensuring that your children have all of their basic needs met; healthy food, clean clothing, a safe environment, healthcare, and community support. If your family is ever in need, it is important to seek help from the community resources available to you. When a family is unable to provide the basic needs required to live a life beyond survival mode, kids can become at-risk for instances of abuse and neglect, according to research.
It may not always be easy to admit that you need help or to ask for it, but it’s essential for a child’s healthy development. In addition, the act of asking for help when in need will teach children that it’s okay for them too to admit that they need help, and to ask for it when necessary.
Social and Emotional Support
In addition to having the basic needs of your children met, it’s also important for them to have social and emotional support at home from their parents. When children feel loved and supported by their parents, it can make a significant impact on their ability to cope with any challenges in life. The relationship between parent and child is not always the easiest, especially during times of stress, trauma, or hardship. The good news is that there is support available for strengthening family bonds and further developing parenting skills to ensure families are best prepared to handle any obstacles as a team.
Providing social and emotional support during times of need Begins by providing social and emotional support in day-to-day life. By being intentional about your time and communication with your kids, parents can develop a rapport with their children that Makes kids feel comfortable coming to their caregivers with larger challenges.
There are many ways for parents to keep lines of communication open.
A few examples are:
- Eating together at the kitchen table
- Engaging in activities that your children enjoy
- Being intentional about family time
A great way to show your support as a parent when your child is facing a social or emotional challenge is by lending an ear. Listening to your child and letting them discuss and process their feelings is key. You may be tempted to want to try to fix their issues or become directive, but it’s more important to listen and to encourage your child—giving them the time and space that they need to process their emotions. When a child feels heard, understood, and supported they will be better equipped to learn to navigate through their issues, and it’s never a bad idea to offer encouraging advice from time to time as well.
It is easy for parents to minimize the problems that their children face. After all when you consider the weight of adult responsibilities. Things like a disruptive friendship or stressful situation at school can seem very trivial. A common misstep parents make is to underestimate the importance of a problem when their son or daughter comes to them. Many parents will simply brush off children's problems because, in the grand scheme of things, they don't seem as important. However, these are golden opportunities to help your child develop good communication skills and empathy. While your child's problems may be small to you, they are all-consuming to them. On top of this, these are the training grounds for your child to learn how to deal with more difficult problems as they grow up. For parents or caregivers, their children are only a part, albeit an important part, of their Universe. For children, their parents are their entire universe and they're looking to you to help understand their place in the world. when you trivialize their problems, your nonverbal communication is that your child(ren) is unimportant and has less value. When your child comes to you with problems or obstacles, taking the time to look them in the eye and ask them how they feel allows them to learn how to process emotions and challenges in healthy ways. It also builds the foundation for them to come to you when they are older.
From a young person's perspective, why would they go to an adult over something very serious and adolescent like a friend who's in trouble or navigating the pressures of sexual relationships, when they are never taken seriously?
Providing concrete support during times of need starts with providing concrete support all the time.
Professional Support Services
There may be times when the emotional support needs of your family require a bit of extra help. That’s where we can step in. The services we provide at Idaho Youth Ranch are designed to help at-risk youth heal and thrive amid life challenges and trauma. The death of a loved one, an illness or disability, abuse or neglect, bullying, mental or behavioral health issues, and scary experiences can have a profound impact on your child or teen’s ability to function in day-to-day life. We work with teens and their families to help equip them with the tools needed to survive and thrive amidst any challenges in life once leaving our care and reuniting with family.
If you’re ever in need of some help or extra support in life, we’re here for you. Our team of dedicated professionals can help direct your family to the right form of care for your unique circumstances. We could all use a bit of extra support from time to time, even those of us who are professional helpers. If your child or teen is struggling, or your family needs some assistance, we’d love to discuss our teen therapy, equine therapy, and family therapy services with you and help your family get on track toward growing together, rather than apart—strengthening the bonds that tie you and helping your young ones grow into resilient, successful adults.
Contact us today to learn more.