Life constantly changes. If you have been a parent for more than a few weeks, you have probably already realized that the minute you figure out the best way to handle something your child is doing – they move on to something new. For your child, all of that change can be even scarier. They don’t have the life experience yet to realize this transition will most likely lead to bigger and better things. Or that even though it doesn’t, they can survive and even thrive with a little help.
As a parent watching your child begin to struggle as they approach and move through transitions can be emotionally tough on you, too. Often fears bring tears and we all hate to see our kids cry. Yet, we can hold the secrets to helping them handle their transitions with a little more confidence and hopefully a few less tears.
So what can we do to help our kids as they approach a transition? Here are some of my favorite tips.
As I write this, the U.S. has just experienced the worst mass shooting in its history. After every mass shooting, it seems like everyone has an opinion as to whether gun control, mental health, protective screenings and law enforcement changes are necessary to stop these incidents in the future.
What happens in my mind is different. I wonder what happened to create a heart that could plan and execute such a horrific plan. A heart that held no value for human life. A heart and mind that thought violence was the answer to whatever they believed was the problem they were trying to solve.
I am sure for every mass shooter, there are multiple reasons why their heart became so horribly ungodly and evil. Obviously, they rejected God’s path for living life at some point in their journey. They may have experienced horrible pain in their life or been horribly spoiled. They may have mental health issues.
What I don’t hear anyone address is the very root of much violent behavior. Study after study has shown a direct correlation between this and increased violent and aggressive behavior even in young children. In fact, when I googled for studies on this topic and its connection to aggression and violence in children and adults (male and female) I was overwhelmed at the sheer volume and quality of studies and horrified by their results.
If you volunteer in your child’s school, Church Bible classes or even their extracurricular activities, you have probably realized there are entirely too many children living in crisis. Often, these children will never turn to an adult for help. Instead, they will share their concerns, fears and problems with a peer.
If your children are loving, kind and supportive in their interactions with other kids, they may be the ones to whom these hurting children turn. Unfortunately, no matter how mature and godly your kids may be, they just don’t have the training and life experience to handle this vital task fully.
You can however, teach your kids some important Christian Life Skills that will help them step in and give their peers some hope and direction while facing life’s problems. So what are the skills most children should be able to handle when trying to help a peer? Here are some of my favorites.
Growing up is emotional. Your body is constantly changing. You are learning all sorts of new things – sometimes the hard way. Bad things happen because you live in a fallen world. You often feel like you are never doing things the way everyone else expects you to do them. Your emotions are swirling and confusing. The emotions you are feeling are often so very strong, they surprise and frighten even you.
Unfortunately, all of the emotions caused by life as a child can become overwhelming. As a result, kids are often tempted to act out in not so godly ways. They may say or do things they would normally never even think of saying or doing. They may cause harm to themselves or others. They often lash out at the people who love them the most. Some young people become so tired of the pain and confusion they will try anything – even things they know are harmful – in an attempt to get relief.
The good news is you can help your kids process their emotions, while making godly choices. In fact, even toddlers can often put the lid on tantrums by learning these tricks. (Although they may need your help – especially if they are already in the habit of throwing a tantrum.)
In Are You Accidentally Raising a Victim, I shared why you need to raise kids who don’t see themselves as victims. 10 Signs Your Child Has a Victim Mindset explained how to tell if your kids are beginning to view themselves as victims. Whether your kids already view themselves as victims or you just want to make sure they never see themselves in that light, it’s important to know how to give your kids the tools to survive and even thrive in the face of adversity.
There are a lot of things you can do to help your children become survivors instead of victims. In fact, the Bible is full of stories of people like King David who experienced a lot of really negative things. Have your kids read how David shared his feelings about his adversities in Psalms. Then have them read the stories of how God helped David survive and even thrive in spite of the adversity in his life. If you regularly share these stories with your kids, they will begin to see the pattern of how God still works in the lives of His people.
There are other things you can do to give your kids the tools to avoid developing a victim mindset. In the case of serious trauma, your child may also need help from a mental health professional to process the event in healthy ways. For those with less traumatic negative experiences, here are a few more of my favorite tips for helping kids survive and even thrive.