HELPING KIDS STAY POSITIVE IN TURBULENT TIMES: IT STARTS BY ENCOURAGING A HEALTHY MINDSET AT HOME
Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, school shootings, divorce or the loss of a loved one – this list of often-emotionally distressing scenarios seems to be never-ending in our world today. And unfortunately, adults aren’t the only ones trying to process and make sense of it all.
Following exposure to a traumatic incident, it is common for children to experience a wide range of emotions. For example, a sense of disbelief, sadness, fear and anger can all fall under this umbrella of emotional reactions. Other signs might include sleeplessness, extreme attachment (or detachment) or missed school and activities.
Asan international speaker, mental health expert and author, in my research, I have observed that when parents brush aside or discount negative emotions in their children, it can have destructive results down the road.
With this aspect in mind, I believe the keys to effectively handling and responding to fluctuating emotions in our children is insight, preparedness and to lead by example. As adults, we must strive to calmly and maturely handle our own reactions to events so we can be there for our children who rely on us to protect them and guide them.
As parents, who we really are becomes quite evident when faced with trauma, criticism, failure or conflict, and our children tend to watch closely to see how we react. With this in mind, we must work hard to respond well in times of crisis or emotionally distressing situations. With this approach, we can exude and teach techniques to help children establish a healthier mindset.
Here are some tips you can start implementing today:
· Give kids your full attention. We live in a fast-paced world often full of negative distractions. But when it comes to our kids, we need to pause, look them in the eye and truly listen. Remember, they have big thoughts, feelings and dreams, and by listening, you can help make them feel valued and loved.
· Lighten up your tone. Yelling or snapping produces harmful chemicals in the brain. If you feel frustrated or upset, take a deep breath and try to relax before engaging with your child. A caring tone and eye contact can send positive signals to the brain.
· Be patient. As a parent, it can hurt to see your child distressed. But rather than quickly trying to fix the problem, try to focus on helping your child grasp the skills necessary to become a problem-solver or someone who can better roll with life's ups (positives) and downs (negatives).
At the end of the day, make sure your kids know you are there for them when they feel like talking. Keep in mind, even when kids don't want to talk, they typically do not want parents actually to leave them alone. Help your child feel better simply by being there for when they are ready.
The bottom line: when we nurture the ability to obtain our own healthy mindset as parents, we
are modeling positivity and encouraging resilience in our children – powerful traits and skills for a successful life.
About Ulrich Kellerer
Ulrich Kellerer is an inspirational business leader, international speaker and mental health activist from Munich, Germany. For over 20 years, Kellerer worked in the European fashion industry as the founder and CEO of the German clothing line, Faro Fashion, which had the distribution rights for the brand CLOSED (the leading European fashion company for women’s and men’s sportswear,) in Bavaria – south Germany. Kellerer is the co-author of The Soul of Success with Jack Canfield and the author of the recently-released title, One Moment Can Change Your Life: Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary People. Today, he dedicates his time to fighting the depression epidemic and promoting mental.
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