Disclaimer: Please know that as a parent, I am experiencing this roller coaster ride in the seat right alongside you. It’s thrilling and scary. I love working with teens and young adults and am always looking for ways to support them.
On Sunday morning, my 16 year old daughter came into the kitchen mad at me. She was frustrated that I hadn’t already shared with her about the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. I was barely digesting the horrible news myself, and there she was, in full bedhead and pjs, annoyed that I was attempting to shelter her from an important event because I thought it might upset her. Of course, she’d already learned the news before she even got out of bed through a news feed on her phone.
In this era of rapidly paced news alerts, feeds, and then add in social media, it is difficult to get in front of scary and tragic news before our kids hear of it. And even if we do learn of it first, how to share and process that information with our children can often leave us tongue tied. According to the American Psychological Association, “The conversation may not seem easy, but taking a proactive stance, discussing difficult events in age-appropriate language can help a child feel safer and more secure.” By taking on these difficult conversations proactively, we let our kids know that we are available and supportive.
Please click here for an excellent guide from the APA on how to navigate your conversation. These are excellent tips in my opinion. Also, remember to take care of yourself. Feeling calm and present in difficult conversations is not easy. Resources are available at the end of the guide. If you feel stuck or overwhelmed, seek out support from a mental health provider.
The traditional African proverb, “It takes a village to raise our kids,” seems more relevant than ever in these modern times.