The Growing Pains of Communicating with Your Child

I recently witnessed a group of moms sharing their concerns about their children. This was prior to our first ChatterGirls meeting and it was awesome to see the connections being made over one commonality, the challenges of raising a daughter today.

We host a parent information meeting prior to each of our sessions but all of the parents are always able to attend so this was a new group of parents meeting for the first time while dropping off their daughters.  It’s great to see parents connecting on such an important issue.

A major concern for all parents is the loss of positive interaction and communication with their child. Communication looks a lot different between a parent and a 7 year old than it does between a 14 year old and a parent. The reality of a 7 year old is completely different from that of freshman in high school!

With each year, new fears may emerge, uncertainties pop up and possibly of a change in friends or schools may occur for some. That’s why it’s imperative to hold on to the connection of sharing the happenings of daily life. Whatever life looks like in the moment, that’s where you need to shine the light and focus, to ensure that you are your child’s life raft when maybe they need a bit of help staying afloat in the rough waters of growing up.

It takes moments to ask questions and remain interested in today’s experiences. The work that you put in today will pay off for years to come. Don’t settle for the response of “fine” or “ok”, you deserve more and so does your child.

We are proud that our program can encourage the girls who attend to remain open and honest with their parents and caregivers. They learn that once they understand themselves, communicating with parents and teachers is easier and helps them write the story of their young experiences.

6 Ways to Start Addressing Tragedy with Children

What happens when tragedy hits?

Whether we look at the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey or a mass shooting, tragedy is part of our lives and when we see it on the news it enters our household and becomes a priority to address with our children.

How do you manage tragedy in your home?  We may be able to shelter our children from some news, but often times, news stories become school discussions. Discussions, images and other media input, may bring a child’s fears closer to reality.

How do you help your child feel safe in the wake of tragedy?  Here are 6 ways to start.

  1. Start by talking with your child, rather than ignoring the issue.
  2. Check with school to see how they will be approaching it.
  3. Remind your child how they are protected in their own home.
  4. Ask your child what they are hearing and what questions they have.
  5. Ask them what they think they can do to help someone who is suffering a tragedy.
  6. Offer suggestions of ways that your family can help those in need: Donating clothes, time or money (from their own savings).

Remember that tragedy looks different through a child’s eyes and ignoring it will only cause further fears and may lead them to believe it’s not important or relevant.

A wonderful lesson to teach our children is that we can help remove fear with discussion.

Is your middle school child ready for the upcoming year?

For some children, middle school can be very challenging, especially the 6th grade.

Schools do their best to eliminate student fears, but not all children are comfortable.

The realization that new friends may need to be made, or new pressures will be faced, can be overwhelming and it’s so very important for children AND parents to have the right tools to move forward and thrive at this time.

I spend quite a bit of my summers preparing young girls for middle school and the anxiety that may accompany the transition. In my program, ChatterGirls, we address those fears and prepare young girls to be comfortable with themselves.

I’d like to share with you a few tips, based off my years of counseling and working with our youth that will help your son or daughter and you during the transition to middle school.

  1. Respectful listening is the most important. Remember that silence also needs to be “heard”.
  2. Be aware that change is happening.
  3. Speaking respectively needs to be two-sided.
  4. As a role model, parents need to keep their social interactions positive.
  5. Are you aware of what thoughts are being kept in the chatterbox of their mind?
  6. Approach conversations in a calm manner and be based in the present.
  7. Quantity of time spent together becomes more challenging, but it’s crucial that the time together be QUALITY time. Make sure to have one on one time with your son or daughter.
  8. Look for signs of anxiety: Withdrawal from friends, poor grades, lack of interest. As a parent your awareness and availability to listen is important.
  9. Keep an eye on your child’s social media accounts. Who is he/she connected with and following? Put rules in place and observe regularly.
  10. See something concerning? Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for assistance. A counselor or life coach are fantastic resources!

Make middle school a time to enjoy and make new friends. Be prepared and enjoy the transition.

Five Ideas to Help Your Daughter Avoid Today’s Pitfalls

Keep their self-esteem intact and boost their self-confidence:

  1. Respectful listening is the most important. Listening happens in many ways, one of which is silence.
  2. Speak respectively to others. Children hear how we speak to our friends and they pick up on if that’s negative or positive in tone.
  3. Encourage your daughter to share the thoughts are being kept in the chatterbox of her mind.
  4. Approach conversations calmly and based in the present.
  5. Focus on the quality of time spent together. The quantity of time spent with our daughters will decrease and it’s important to share time one on one moving forward.