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Children are such a light in this world that we often only see them as happy-go-lucky, full of positivity, joy, and strength. But it would be naive to think that children don’t experience spiritually tough times. And that they don’t need help navigating them.
Parents play an integral role in helping their kids cope with tough times. And without their guidance, children have difficulty making it to the other side of a trying time. But many parents aren’t prepared to adequately support their children after an event that disrupts their spirit.
So, what are the best practices for when your children find themselves in situations that harm their spirits? The following four tips will help you guide your kids through spiritually tough times.
Have Regular Open Conversations
When your child goes through a traumatic event, you want them to come to you. But, unfortunately, many children are reluctant to go to their parents when something hard happens. And that often results in them bottling up everything inside until they emotionally explode.
Having regular, open conversations with your child can help you develop a strong bond with them, and, in turn, they’ll feel comfortable coming to you when something hurts their spirit. For example, moving to a new school could be really tough for them to accept. So you want them to come to you with their fears about leaving what’s familiar. And then, you’ll be able to make the process more manageable by validating their feelings. Or getting them more excited about the move by allowing them to pick their room colors and decorations.
All in all, you’ll want to communicate and connect with your children regularly so they’ll be more inclined to come to you when hard times hit. Also, spiritual practices should be a regular thing in your household.
Make Spiritual Practices a Part of Your Everyday
Talking about something that affects your child’s spirit may not be enough for them to work through it entirely. They’ll most likely need activities and practices that help them cope. When you have a conversation with your child about something challenging, you want to follow it with an action plan.
You could start with something they enjoy, like video games. Playing video games in moderation can help kids develop cognitive skills, encourage social connections, and help them destress. But you also want to introduce other coping mechanisms like mindfulness activities, exercise, art therapy, nature walks, and so forth.
Whatever activities and practices you choose, ensure they’ll help your child balance and restore their spirit after a trying time. Additionally, when you feel like you’ve run out of ideas to support your child, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your village.
Enlist the Help of Your Village
“It takes a village to raise a child.” You’ve probably heard this saying before. And it’s absolutely true. Once a child is in this world, there’s a chance for everyone they encounter to impact their growth. There will be people outside of the immediate family circle that help shape and mold who they become in the future. And this is especially helpful in tough times.
Unfortunately, you won’t be there to protect your child from every unfortunate event. But when you have a village around your child, there will always be someone there to help them through it. For example, your child could be a victim of traditional or cyberbullying at some point. When your child’s educator is a part of their village and educated on crucial facts about cyberbullying, they pay attention to their behaviors and can speak up when signs of bullying are present.
So, reach out to your village when you need additional help guiding your kids through spiritually tough times. You also want to ensure you’re doing the things you’re asking your kids to do when they go through something troublesome.
Ensure You’re Practicing What You Preach
Children do what they see, not what you tell them to do. So, if you isolate, lash out, hold grudges, and have terrible communication when you go through a hardship, chances are your children will do the same. Or if your kids see you coming home drained every day from work and unable to engage with them, they’ll most likely grow up and do the same.
So, practice exactly what you’re telling them to do in spiritually tough times. For example, do your breathing exercises when a conversation gets intense. Practice mindfulness activities like meditation. Talk to your spouse and display healthy communication. And show them how to stay positive in a spiritually challenging career.
Additionally, practicing what you preach doesn’t mean being perfect. When your children witness a meltdown or unhealthy behavior, have an open conversation about it, so your children are encouraged to be authentic in their journey. Ultimately, you can show them how to get through a spiritually tough time better than you can tell them.
There are so many ways to show your children support during tough times. Whether it’s one of the above four or another way, ensure you guide your kids through spiritually tough times with an open mind, open heart, and unconditional love.