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Emotionally Healthy Kids Have Parents Who Ask These 5 Questions Daily

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Emotionally Healthy Kids Have Parents Who Ask These 5 Questions Daily


Questions to help your child better process their emotions

In today's society, parents are faced with the very real probability that their child will someday suffer from a mental health illness. 

Statistics showed in 2014 one in every five adults have a diagnosable mental disorder that's 18.1% of the population. And that was 5 years ago.

The same can be said for young adults 20 per cent currently are or will be at some point diagnosed with a mental health illness such as depression, anxiety or substance use.

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The percentage of youth age 8-15 with a diagnosable mental disorder are as follows.

Any disorder - 13.1%

ADHD - 8.6%

Mood disorders - 3.7%

Major depressive disorder - 2.7%

So what should we as parents do with this staggering information? 

Should we sit back, hope and pray that our kids are mentally healthy? Or is there something we can do to help them accept themselves better process negative emotions and learn to navigate through difficulties? 

I write a lot here on Word from the Bird about bridging the emotional gap between parents and children so that they can have healthy communication and relationships.

Today I specifically want to address the things we communicate to our kids that will positively affect them, and nurture their emotional and mental health I genuinely believe that when the family unit is healthy our society can be healthy. 

Check out this incredible parenting book by Paul David Tripp - Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family

Sometimes our attention as parents misses the emotional mark of our children's needs to simply providing for them physically but children need so much more than a hot meal and quick convo at dinner they need intentionality and for you to identify with them empathize with them. 

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Along with modeling what a healthy person looks like, as parents we are given the responsibility to help our children navigate their negative emotions. 

And even though we may feel helpless and think that the only way our kids will learn how to do that is with a therapist we are not helpless and we can directly influence our children and equip them to thrive emotionally in our culture. 

Not to say that your child shouldn't have a therapist or counselor. 

There are situations that your child may need outside help. 

Actually it takes humility on a parents part to allow their children a mentor or other healthy adults in their life for instance a counselor. 

Children sometimes will better seek advice from an adult who isn't their parent so as they get older don't discourage other healthy individuals to be apart of their life. 

Parenting also includes accepting that you won't always have the answers and that's okay what's important is that you do your best to research, understand and apply everything you can to better identify with your children and give them the tools to work through their emotions.

Five questions that help your child feel like they can confide in you.

1. HOW ARE YOU FEELING EMOTIONALLY TODAY? 



I know this sounds simple and obvious but by asking this question you might open up ample opportunities to develop an honest relationship with your child on a deeper level than, "Hey how are you?" 

By addressing the "feelings" and "emotions" with that question you are communicating to them that they do have feelings and emotions and it's perfectly okay to feel them it's showing them empathy getting down in the pit they are in, and helping them come out of it. 

Tell them you notice that they seem a little down and if there is anything you can do to help. 

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Don't assume something is wrong by saying, "What's wrong?" But instead allow them to share their heart. Tell them you are always there for them and create a non-judgemental space where they can share anything with you without punishing them for it. 

If they do open up with you make sure you don't listen to respond and fix but rather listen to understand. 

Sometimes I make the mistake of trying to fix a bad situation for my son right after he tells me what happened thinking the reason he told me was because he wanted my advice. 

But if you see that your child needs help or direction ask them if it's okay that you give your advice. Don't just force your opinions down their throat. 

Say, "Oh man I'm so sorry you are going through that. I am here for you. I love you. Would you like to know what I would do in this situation?" 

And if they don't want that, then leave it them knowing that you are there for them is sometimes enough to be able to navigate through that difficult circumstance.

2. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO WITH ME TODAY? 


So many times my eight yo asks me this question I  have observed that if I ask it first, his world lights up and he is so excited that I thought of it first. Asking your kids questions they ask you show that you identify with them and want to take the initiative. 

Time spent together as a family is one of the most important things you can do as a parent but make sure it's intentional that means you don't check your phone, or do something you want to do. 

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Even if it's 15 minutes of intentional time doing something they love it will mean the world to them. If you can't do 15 minutes of intentional time with your child daily then I would suggest you move things around and find the time. 

I don't say that in a judgemental way but mentally caring for your child will always require time spent with them. Really that simple.

3. WHAT HAPPENED TODAY THAT MADE YOU SMILE OR LAUGH, OR ...


You fill in the blank asking your child these questions that will not end in a yes or no will help them think about the answer instead of quickly responding with a "No."

When I ask my son this after school, he sometimes has an answer, but not always the point is that you care you care to know about his day. You care to know if they were treated unkindly. You care to know that they felt safe. 

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Your children need to know you care, even about the most minute, mundane and sometimes ridiculous events of their adolescent life. 

I think my son has now told me ten times that this girl at school has a crush on him and every time he tells me, I am interested and ask more questions. 

Having an emotionally healthy relationship with your children requires patience and the understanding that you sometimes hold their little heart in your hands be ever so careful with it.

4. WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL OR GRATEFUL FOR TODAY?


Along with asking the questions that are good conversation starters it's vital that you help them see the good things that happen in their life. 

In western civilization, kids are unfortunately unaware of what they have and very aware of what they don't have. 

So how do we raise kids who are content and grateful? Well along with being grateful and content yourself as to model for them what that looks like you can ask them for what they are thankful on  a daily basis.  

For some reason in our family the best communicative moments are at bedtime. 

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Our family believes in God so this might looks different for you than it does for us but we ask our son to think about three things he's grateful for either from that day, or in general and then we pray together and he tells God thanks for all those things. 

We don't force him to pray, but rather encourage it if he doesn't feel like praying we leave it we don't want him to pray because we want him to pray but rather because he wants to this nurtures his spiritual life and helps him understand what a healthy relationship with God looks like.

We point him to the truth but then let him make a choice. 

5. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO TELL US THAT MIGHT BE HARD TO SAY?


We don’t usually ask this every day but instead when he looks like he’s a bit down or sad about something. 

We have created for our child a safe zone in our conversations we want our kids to know that we don't judge them that we are always on their side and we want the best for them. 

Naturally things will happen in your child's life that are surprising unfortunate, or things you wished you could have changed for them but the important thing is to create a space where they feel free to share those things. 

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Wouldn't you rather your child feel safe to share the bad stuff instead of hiding it from you? To do that you have to give them grace. If they share with you something sensitive that was hard for them to say then reward that don't punish it. 

By saying "that might be hard to say” you acknowledge that they might have a hard time saying it, and that's okay. 

They need to know you are safe to share their deepest and darkest, without judgment without condemnation. 

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