In light of the recent tragic events in our world, parents have reached out to me for advice on how to help their children process the pain they are seeing in the world. PARENTS is an acronym with 7 simple reminders to equip parents to empower your children.
P – Process your pain first. It’s important for parents to address your feelings as they come, so you can help your children to manage theirs. The goal is to be prepared and not scared.
A – Ask them questions. Follow their level of curiosity. Keep in mind their level of understanding. Adjust your answers according to their age, personality and experiences.
R – Respond with compassion towards their fears, anxiety and confusion. Do not shame them or downplay their perspective. Even as children, it’s important that their feelings be respected.
E – Embrace them! Hugs! For younger children, do plenty of snuggle time. For teens, just hang out together. Give them direct eye contact. Physically reassure them of your presence.
N – Notice changes in behavior or outlook. They may be more withdrawn or act out in anger. If you need to, get help from a trusted friend, counselor, or pastor.
T – Tell the truth. Don’t hide things from kids or lie to them. They can usually sense something is wrong and ignoring it does not lower their stress level. It makes them more uneasy.
S -Say a prayer for the situation, families, and all those affected. Our country needs our prayers.