Just recently, co-parents and I were talking about a 12-year old kid who attempted to commit suicide by jumping off the third floor of the school. Good thing one of her classmates saw her and immediately called the attention of the teachers. Two weeks before that, a 13-year old kid also attempted to commit suicide by jumping off the third floor. Thankfully, a teacher saw her and pulled her out.
Mental health issues are serious, mommas. My daughters’ school is taking this seriously by providing regular counselling sessions to all the students, including Kinder. They also extend this to the parents by regularly sending us a ‘Parents Edition’ pamphlet of what they taught our kids on that particular session.
Despite this, why did those incidents still happen? It’s hard to tell. We will never know what is going on inside a child’s mind even if we confront them. It is never okay to judge the parents too because we don’t know what they are going through as well.
Mental health is a serious concern and I have to admit that I also battled with depression for years – yet I can’t say that I am fully okay today. Still, I believe that as a parent, we can do something to help our kids understand the emotions they are feeling. Plus, there are certain things we need to do for our kids, including saying these nine things:
“I love you.”
I’ve never been an I-love-you-type of person. In fact, I rarely show my emotional side and was never malambing even to people I love. When I had kids, everything changed. I always tell them how much I love them and I made sure that I’ll tell that as often as I can. My heart gets fuller every time I hear them say that they love me too.
Parents, tell your kids how much you love them. Do this as often as you like. Action speaks louder than words but for kids, they need to hear how you feel for them. These three words, eight letters will always be powerful.
“I like it when you…”
I have to admit. Sometimes, I pay more attention to my kids’ faults and mistakes and rarely compliment on the things they do right. It’s as if it is easier for me to get mad at them than commend the good things they did.
Well, I am doing my best to change that. As much as possible, I pay attention and talk about the positive aspects of my kids’ behavior. It warms my heart every time I see how proud they are of themselves every time I compliment them. It makes a child feel proud of himself/herself because s/he knows efforts are recognized.
“You make me happy.”
Saying this makes the kids feel that they are valuable. Plus, it makes them feel good that they matter to someone, especially their parents.
“I am proud of you.”
Saying how proud we are with our kids is a good thing. After all, they need to hear that we recognize the things they do and we are happy about it. Still, I am careful on this one. I don’t want to raise arrogant kids because I praised them too much. On the other hand, not saying I’m proud of them could have a negative effect on them as they grow up.
Therefore, say how proud we are of them but make sure we say them on significant accomplishment, situations they deserve, and things that matter. Also, praise the process. It’s one thing to say that we are proud of our kids for getting a high score in their exams, but it’s important to say that we are proud because we saw the efforts they put into in order to get a high score.
“You are special.”
As the kids grow up, they will start to realize that they are different from other kids. I remember my daughter telling me that one of her classmates is good in reciting the poem they need to memorize in school and it made her feel bad because she had a hard time memorizing it. With a little push that she can do it and a reminder that she is special, she eventually memorized that poem.
The point is let our kids know that their uniqueness is their strength and there’s nothing to be ashamed about it. We should not let other people define who our kids are just so they would fit in. They will always be special in their own ways.
“I trust you.”
One of the important characteristics of a loving family is trust. Every child needs to know that their parents are someone they could lean on and run to in case something is happening, regardless if it is good or bad. Avoid “over-parenting” and start believing in our kids.
“I believe in you.”
As a parent, it’s normal for us to run at our kids’ side and do things for them. After all, we want to make things easier for our kids. Still, set aside that mentality and allow our kids to do their own thing. We need to constantly tell them that we believe in them because it makes them feel that they are valuable. It also sends a message that
“I know you can do this.”
School brought the competitiveness out of my kids both in good and bad ways. Between my two girls, my eldest daughter is more competitive and takes school (really) seriously. There are instances when she can’t immediately understand a particular lesson, which made her frustrated. Sometimes, she would try to read and understand the topic on her own but most of the time, she says “I can’t do it. It’s too hard for me.”
Kids need some push and encouragement especially during “difficult situations,” which is why I always tell her that she can do it and I truly believe that she can. She may not believe it at first so what I do is I explain what the lesson is about, give her one to two examples, and then let her do the rest. Then I remind her that she can do it and I can see that she is trying her best; hence keeping her motivated.
“I am grateful for you.”
Parent-child relationship will never be perfect. There are good and bad days, but at the end of the day, kids need to know that we don’t regret having them. Therefore, say how grateful we are to have them. It makes them feel special knowing that we are happy to have them in our lives.
For me, this is one of my biggest challenges as a parent. I have to admit that there are days when I just let the kids do whatever they want so I could get things done. When one of my daughters tell me something, I just nod or say “Okay” even if I haven’t fully understood what she was talking about. I could get away with it when they were younger but at this point, my kids would get mad because they could see that I wasn’t listening to them. Every time they say something, I make an effort to stop whatever they are doing, look at them, and pay attention to what they were saying. I also ask questions to keep the conversation flowing.
The bottom line is tell your kids you are listening and make sure you really do. This will encourage the kids to speak up and share whatever is happening to them. At this day and age, we need to be more proactive and involved with our kids’ lives and it starts with listening to what they have to say.
DON’T FORGET TO SHARE:
Ayi is a stay-at-home mom of two. When her kids are in their best state, she keeps up with chores, work, and ensuring that her sanity is intact. Join her as she navigates through this rollercoaster ride called motherhood.