Monday, May 26, 2014

Parenting: Reframe the Situation

This young man wishes for the days when he lived the carefree life of a four-year-old. Check out his sad, sad, story in this clip.

When our children experience failure, disappointment, stress, or betrayal they often feel as if the world might end. Children lack the perspective adults have. They have not lived the adage that “this too shall pass.” They only know the grief of this moment. We might think that teenagers, with more life experience, would be able to have a richer perspective, but often they do not. Perhaps this is because they are adjusting to recent changes in the brain that allow them to see the world from different eyes.

This is one of those times when we want to be careful to avoid reinforcing inaccurate thinking with piles of sympathy. We don’t want to laugh or offer to fix things.

Instead, we want to help our children reframe the situation, or help them find a better perspective. We can do this with a simple two-step approach: empathy and thinking question:

I am sorry to see you are so unhappy. What could you do to make things better?

I am sad to hear you are frustrated. What do you think your teacher wants?

I see you are angry with yourself. What can you learn from this?

Today feels gloomy. When were you sad in the past? Did you feel better the next day?

Take your children by the hand when they walk through tough times. Share your faith and remind them that God loves them and has a plan for them to grow and learn. 

Memorize this verse so it is in your parenting toolbox. This promise is for parents, too!

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18, ESV)

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