This time of year marks a season of transitions for everyone, whether your kids are just starting school or entering high school. It’s a fresh beginning for all. We had the privilege of talking with the experienced school counselor, Brian Coleman, to gain valuable insights for you with 5 ways to support your child.
Supporting Your Child Through Life Transitions
Talking with Brain Coleman has been such an eye-opener. He literally spends all day talking with teens so he hears things from a different perspective than parents. Between his schooling and experience, Brian has the wisdom to help parents learn to connect and redirect the conversations with their kids. Combined with the resources from Responsibility.org, parents can strengthen their connection with their children and equip them with essential life skills as they embark on this new school year and beyond.
Listen and Attend
Parenting can be challenging. Often, we think we have all the answers, but sometimes we don’t know what’s best. Brian Coleman advises us to put aside our own experiences when our kids come to us with their problems. Kids will often say “But mom, you don’t understand”. As parents, we want to tell them that we do. When they say, “You don’t understand,” pause and acknowledge that maybe you don’t. Instead of imposing our wisdom, just listen and attend to their needs. Encourage them to explain. Say something like, “You know what, I don’t understand. Why don’t you explain it to me and help me understand.” Before you respond, take a moment. Breathe and reflect before saying anything.
Schedule Regular Check-Ins
Maintaining open communication with your children is essential. Regular check-ins about real-life matters are crucial. Sometimes, life gets busy, so scheduling regular check-ins is a way that time doesn’t get away from you. This ensures that you’re aware of what’s happening in their lives and creates a supportive environment for them to share their concerns. Sometimes, all it takes is just asking them what’s going on. That can be what gets them to start talking and it helps to build trust with teens.
Success is often seen as the ultimate goal, but it’s essential to normalize failure. Brian Coleman emphasizes the more successful the parents the more difficult it can be for kids to fail. Without meaning to, it makes it even harder on the kids and they think that they can’t fail. It makes it even harder to accept. Help your kids understand that failure is a part of life and a valuable learning experience. Normalize failing as another stepping stone to reaching their goals. Remind them it is ok.
Have Conversations About Feelings
Adolescent and teen emotions can be intense. It’s important to have conversations about what they’re feeling. However, only draw from your emotions when it’s a teaching moment for emotional regulation. Some coping mechanisms are very healthy and some are very toxic, so help kids learn how to find healthy ways to deal with how they are feeling. Share how you deal with life’s stressors, as this helps your kids learn healthy coping mechanisms.
In a world filled with social media influencers and peer pressure, it’s crucial to teach your children how to say no and handle conflicts. Role-playing scenarios can be a useful tool when talking to your kids about alcohol. Share your own experiences of saying no and how it made you feel. Additionally, teach them how to engage and interact with other adults respectfully, boosting their confidence in such situations.
Now is an excellent moment to seize the chance that a new school year offers to refresh your interactions with your children, regardless of their age. Responsibility.org can provide valuable guidance to parents and caregivers on how to engage in conversations with their kids about responsible decision-making and the importance of saying “no” to underage drinking. I’ve personally committed to being a lifelong ambassador for Responsibility.org, and I’m eager to hear how you’re also revitalizing your discussions with your children.
One Last Thing
Supporting your child through life’s transitions is a journey that requires patience and understanding. Brian Coleman’s insights provide a valuable roadmap for parents. By listening, scheduling check-ins, normalizing failure, discussing emotions, and teaching conflict resolution, you can empower your children to navigate these transitions with confidence and resilience.