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Being happy and cheerful is a state of mind. Being happy can’t be dependent on your surroundings and circumstances. If it is, your life is nothing but one roller coaster ride after another.
Hopefully you know that and are passing that philosophy onto your children. But that doesn’t mean your children aren’t going to have an occasional bad day. We all do. As a parent, however, it is your responsibility to help them learn to process and deal with their feelings.
Have you ever had someone tell you everything will be okay or that they understand (when there’s no way they could)? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Your children feel the same way.
The first thing you need to do when trying to cheer your children up is to listen, really listen to why they are feeling upset or down in the dumps. It’s only in listening that you can truly understand what it is your child needs and how you can cheer them up.
Some kids won’t share their feelings as easily as others. Why? Some don’t know how, some are afraid they’ll be made fun of or told they are being ‘silly’ or ‘too sensitive’.
That’s where the art of asking questions comes in. You need to ask questions that are non-accusatory and will initiate conversation on how your child feels about something or what they have experienced or seen. Some questions will be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, but try to make those the exception.
Let your child cry or blow off some steam if they need to. Don’t let them use inappropriate language or be aggressive or abusive to anyone or anything but let them vent. We all need that now and again. Besides, you can often find out quite a bit if you listen carefully to what they are saying.
Depending on the age of your unhappy child, providing those affectionate touches can do much to heal and make things ‘all better’.
You may know that playground squabbles really don’t last forever and that a broken or lost toy really isn’t the end of the world, but in their world it is a big deal. To laugh at your child or discount their feelings will only serve to:
Children are said to be resilient and able to roll with the punches. To disregard their feelings as insignificant is damaging to their self-esteem. Instead, build their self-esteem and self-confidence by reminding them how special they are and that what other people think is not always important. You need to help your children understand and believe that their thoughts, opinions and ideas are valuable and worth hearing.
Your children need to know you are their biggest fan. Even if their terrible, horrible, not-so-good day is partially their own doing (or completely their own doing), they need to know you are there for them.
They need to know you love them unconditionally and that you are there to help them navigate through this difficult time.
Darla Noble has been married to her childhood sweetheart, John, for 32 years. They are the parents of 4 beautiful children and 4 perfect grandchildren :)
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