Everyone needs a social support system. Some find it through friends, most find it through their family. After all, families are the most basic unit of society- one that many of us are born into. Despite this, it can still be rather difficult connecting to your family on an equal level and feeling safe to bear your emotions.
This can be difficult if you’re a parent concerned about your child, so here are some ideas to help you out:
Maintain Open Communication
Traditionally, parents are known to be strict disciplinarians. As the years go by, society is becoming more and more aware of the fact that sometimes, you don’t need to be a disciplinarian. Most of the time, you just need to show love and concern to your child. Providing love and support is the best way you can offer a support system, and the first step to do that is to not ignore them.
Talk to them, don’t scoff at their ideas and feelings, and don’t always respond negatively. Hear them out first, and listen to what they have to say. Most of the time, the reason why kids never tell their parents anything is that their parents react in a way that makes them feel bad. So temper your emotions, hear your children out and discuss matters rationally.
Never Underestimate Professional Help
When children or family members complain about what they’re feeling, we’re often inclined to brush it off as something relatively minor. Perhaps we hear them complain all the time, or they’re still doing their normal routines. Instead of simply ignoring their cries for help, take it seriously. Visit a health professional, be it mental or physical health. Only a specialist can verify whether there’s something wrong or not, and it’s important to take possible signs of illnesses seriously.
Especially in the matter of mental health, we need to be extra sensitive yet vigilant of our mental health. It’s very easy to simply just put it to the side and “push forward”, but keeping mental problems unchecked can lead to potential dangers. Be open to the idea of visiting a psychologist or a therapist. Through vigilance over each other’s health everyone in the family can feel like they have a support system backing them.
Don’t Be Overly Positive
The last thing anyone wants to hear is senseless positivity in the face of negativity. Sometimes, trying to be positive when someone is feeling down can only make matters worse. Especially when you’re telling someone to “look at the bright side”. Often, they’ve already tried looking at the bright side but found it difficult to ignore the glaring issue. Being overly positive will simply make you seem insensitive and unempathetic. If you truly don’t understand the situation, be upfront about your lack of understanding but still provide support. You can say statements like:
“I’m not exactly familiar with what you feel, but I want you to know I’m here for you”
Often, statements like this are what people want to hear, more than hearing solutions that they might have thought of already. Ask them whether they’d like to vent, need help, or provide a potential solution. Sometimes, all you really need is to clarify how you can help.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Nothing can break someone’s heart more than failing to receive support when they need it the most. Hold yourself accountable: if you promise you will help, try to accomplish it to the best of your ability. And don’t just limit it to yourself. As a parent, remind your kids of their promises and responsibilities. Being able to rely on each other is part of what makes a family a good family, and holding yourself accountable is the first step to being reliable. Helping each other and going through shared experiences will keep your family closer.
Divorced Families Can Still Support Each Other
Even separated families can help each other. Of course: practical matters first. With the help of an experienced divorce lawyer, you should be able to sort out the custody arrangement so each parent can have an adequate amount of time with the children. This is critical as you want to make the most out of your time with them.
Look into finding social support for your children, as they might find the adjustment period difficult. They might blame themselves for what happened (something reportedly common among children), thus it’s critical to sit them down and clarify the issue. It’s a matter of reaching out to extended family members and reminding the child that they have a family and they’re not alone.
Always support your family members. It doesn’t take much; sometimes, it only requires a pair of ears that are willing to listen.