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Hard Words

Nikky

When life throws challenges our way, it’s always difficult to explain to the children in our lives what is going on. Whether it’s illness, death, divorce or addiction, our instinct is to protect the young, and this is in conflict with our need to be honest with them.

I have a friend in one of these tricky situations who asked me for advice about how to tell her son. I went away to do a little research and came across a phrase full of wisdom, “Think of telling him less as an event, more as a process.” These words really struck a chord with me. I know I’ve been guilty of building myself up for just such an event in the past, putting added pressure on everyone involved. I don’t think I’m alone, there is a very human desire to get difficult conversations ‘over with’, as if that will end the problem, when really, every one of those conversations is a starting point to dealing with the issue at hand.

Never underestimate the strength of a child’s desire to internalise things. In order to prevent children coming to the conclusion that they have done something wrong, and that this something is the cause of the problem, they need a great deal of reassurance. This alone takes more than one conversation.

Then there is the part that they have to play in the situation. Anyone who receives bad news or is introduced to a troublesome set of circumstances, is going to need time to absorb and inwardly digest that information. This will undoubtedly bring up questions, questions that will need a further conversation to answer, and so on and so on. It’s not an event, it’s a process.

So, as a rule of thumb. Make sure that you, and any other adult involved in that initial conversation, have all the facts and support you need. Make sure you have your story straight between you, it may even be worth having a practice run without the child or children present. When the time comes, find a calm, safe environment and have that first conversation when there are no pressures on anyone’s time. Find out what the child knows, listen carefully to any questions asked, answer them factually, offer security, admit when you don’t know the answers. Be explicit that the conversation remains open and any further questions or points of view will be welcomed.

We need each other to get through the most difficult times of life, and as adults, we must support our children and reassure them that they are not to blame.

To Turn Back Time

Nikky

Have you ever had the thought cross your mind, “I wonder when it’s all going to go back to normal?” I found these very words floating through my consciousness unbidden the other day. Given the current state of affairs, I think it’s an excusable fantasy.

Because it is a fantasy, there never was any ‘normal’ for things to go back to, even if time reversal was a thing. (Time reversal is not a thing!)
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Time Travel

Nikky

It can be difficult for us grown-ups to understand how differently time is perceived by a toddler, a child, or even a teenager.

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Child Power

Nikky

Last year, the Guardian newspaper held an experiment where several families gave up the rules laid down by parents, and handed the power over to the children.

https://www.google.com/url?q=h...

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Time to Remember

Nikky

I have previously written about the importance of using personal memories to enable empathetic communications with our children. I’d like to talk more here about how we can help our children develop strong recall skills.



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