Helping Your Child Deal with Disappointments

When I was 10 years old, my best friend was invited to a birthday party that I never received an invite for. It was a pool party with ice cream cake. Needless to say, I was devastated.

Of course, my parents could’ve stepped in and asked that I be invited to the party. They could have allowed me to go to the party with my friend even though I wasn’t invited. They could have distracted me with a special evening of fun at home. They didn’t do any of this for me, though. Instead, they let me fill the full force of disappointment with no intervention. As I was going to bed, my mom spoke with me about how I felt about the afternoon, but that was the end of it.

Though is hard at the time, I appreciate what my parents did for me that day.

Many parents these days do whatever they can to keep their children from facing adversity, stress, and disappointments. That is an instinct that I understand. When they do this, though, they keep their children from learning opportunities. If a child is constantly protected from discomfort, they will be more likely to have trouble being disappointed later in life. Learning to cope with disappointment is a key feature to living a balanced life.

So, what should you do? Well, instead of stepping into fix problems your child may be facing, walk them through it. Let them feel their emotions. Allow them to be angry, sad, or feel left out. After the moment is past, sit down and discuss it with them. Help them learn how to move forward. This will help teach them the valuable skill of resiliency.

Yes, it is hard to see your child struggling with things that are painful, but fixing their problems will only create more problems for them in the future.

Leaving Your Child Home Alone

One of the questions I often hear parents ask is at what age should you leave your child at home alone? There are many reasons parents may consider leaving their child home alone, whether there is a need for afterschool care or the parents simply need to go somewhere without children. Some parents are left with no option but to let their kids stay home alone.

It’s a big step to decide when your child should be left at home alone, a decision that comes with many questions, concerns, and doubts. There are a few broad guidelines, and some legal requirements in some areas, that will need to be taken into consideration. Some state laws regulate when children can be left at home legally based on their age. It is always important to understand the laws before making a decision.

Even if your child can be left home alone legally, you may first want to consider leaving them with an older sibling or family member. Many times, there are options available with the neighborhoods, or another family that may be facing the same situation. Switching off childcare with another family can be a great way to ensure your child stay safe if you are uncertain of their ability to stay home alone.

If you can legally leave your child home alone, and of the above options are available, your child needs to have a clear plan of what to do to stay safe. The ability for your child to make good sound choices is much more important than their physical age. You need to understand how well they can follow rules and stay safe when no one is home to monitor them. Are they able to read and understand a simple plan, then follow through with it? If something happens while you are away, do they know what to do?

If you decide to leave your child at home alone, lay out your expectations clearly. Also discuss any fears your child may have about staying home alone. Try a few test runs for short period of time initially, then slowly increase the amount of time you leave them at home. This will help you to monitor if they are ready to handle the responsibility and help build their confidence.

Keeping Your Kids Safe Online

Technology is continually becoming a more integral part of the lives of our children as they grow. Of course, no parent wants their child to encounter inappropriate content online. There are some steps you can take, luckily, to help keep your children safe online and give them a positive experience. Below are five of those steps.

  1. No electronics in the bedroom: when your child is online behind closed doors, it’s hard to keep them safe. Your computer should be kept in a communal area so their online activities can be monitored. Remind your children that you are simply looking out for their safety, not snooping. The same rule should apply to other electronic devices.
  2. Use parental controls and Internet filters: these filters and controls can help keep your child from finding adult content online, either on purpose or by accident. Setting up parental controls can also help you have direct control over search options.
  3. Decide on strong passwords: not only do you need strong passwords to help keep your personal data and sensitive information safe, but it is important to teach your children why they should also create strong passwords. Remind them to never give passwords to anyone else besides you. Use strong passwords on your parental controls and Internet filters that your child would not know. Also, teacher children about cyber criminals and how they can still passwords to get to your visit of information.
  4. Set strict rules and lead by example: you may need to limit screen time for your children for whatever reason. If so, make this a rule. It is important for you to also follow those rules, though, so they will better understand the importance of them.
  5. Openly communicate your children: children will often stumble upon things online or run into an online bully. They are often afraid to let their parents know about these incidences because they don’t want to get in trouble. By encouraging communication that is open and honest, you can help keep your kids safe online. Teacher child that your role is to help them navigate online, not to punish them.

Though it is impossible to control everything online your child is, the above steps are practical ideas to help keep them safe.

 

Teaching Children How to Apologize Appropriately

When my youngest daughter was six, and it is that she began saying, “I’m sorry” on a regular basis just to keep from getting in trouble. They became quite annoying quickly. She would hit her brother, run off, then start saying he was sorry when she thought she was going to get in trouble. To her, that was the end of the conversation.

Though, in such cases, she knew she was wrong for what she did, the apology did nothing to prevent the same thing from happening again. It quickly came a point where merely saying “I’m sorry” wasn’t enough. We tried to discuss with her how the words meant nothing if actions were not going to change. He didn’t seem to sink in very well at first, though. After speaking with other parents about the issue, we came up with a few ways to help her learn how to apologize while also learning accountability and developing her problem-solving skills. Below are those things we learned:

  • Be aware of the phrase, “I’m sorry, but…” With both kids and adults. When this is done, is simply a way to justify behavior or to throw the blame on another person. Instead, it is better to say something along the lines of, “I’m sorry and next time I will do (this) different.” It can take a good bit of time and practice to change that habit in children and adults.
  • Have the child make amends for their wrong: this is a great way to teach them how to write their wrongs. If your child is disrespectful to someone, have them write a letter of apology that explains how they will behave differently in the future. If your child damages property with a bad decision, make them responsible for paying for the damages.
  • Be patient: it takes time to change the mentality of simply saying “I’m sorry” for doing something wrong. Give them in yourself time. If needed, find someone you can speak with about your challenges to help you through them.

By working alongside with your children, you can teach them the appropriate way to apologize when they do wrong.