Help! I should have read the instructions!
Let’s face it, parenting is hard work. It’s the job that’s simply never done. As much as we love our children and, of course we do, there are moments when it can feel overwhelming.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I vividly remember poring over all the parenting books and making pages of neatly organised notes. The irony was that, once she’d arrived, I was so busy and bone-achingly tired, that I usually couldn’t even find the books amongst all the baby clobber.
What is it they say about those early years of parenting? Something about the ‘days being long, but the years are short’. That is certainly how it feels to me: as though my chubby cheeked toddler morphed into a pre-teen in the blink of an eye and I was constantly trying to catch up. Of course, as the kids get bigger, their problems become more complex. I’m often left with the feeling that there must be an instruction manual somewhere that would help .. if only I could find it!
What makes me sad is that when our children are small, we are surrounded by access to help via parenting groups and health visitors etc. but this disappears as they get older. It gets harder to know where to turn for relevant help and advice and this seems especially true when it comes to schooling. In the primary school years, it was relatively easy to catch a word with teachers at pick up time and to help in practical ways with learning spellings and reading at bedtime. By the time it comes to GCSEs, it’s common to feel less confident about exactly how to help our children.
Today’s take away tip:
Keep them talking. Remember your child’s endless toddler chat and all those questions? Well, during adolescence, many kids become more reserved and less talkative, with some research even suggesting that the average teenager spends only 37 minutes a week in extended conversation with an adult at home. Look for every opportunity to keep the lines of communication open. Teenagers, and especially boys, are often happier to chat when they are ‘busy’ doing something else – a bike ride, chores, driving somewhere… Give them a chance to open up about their concerns in a less pressured moment and you may be surprised how much they share.
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