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Helping Children Overcome Difficulty

Children’s outward behaviors offer important clues about what they’re feeling inside, and how they’re experiencing their world. It helps immensely if parents respect their child’s feelings, but it’s also vital to understand the source and magnitude of those feelings to be able to respond in a caring and attentive manner.

A child facing difficulty may be disappointed (or angry, embarrassed, or upset or…). However, they may not ask for help or consolation. Parents who recognize that their child is having a rough time can offer them reassurance, creative outlets, comfort, and coping strategies.

Here are fifteen suggestions that parents can personalize in support of children who are having trouble with challenge or change, or who may need assistance going forward:

  • Show your child that you believe in possibilities, hope, and adaptability.
  • Pay heartfelt attention to what your child has to say.
  • Answer questions.
  • Don’t judge.
  • Be gentle.
  • Stay calm.
  • Value your child’s thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
  • Share ways of managing BIG feelings, little ones, and in-betweens.
  • Encourage.
  • Be compassionate.
  • Reassure.
  • Smile. Laugh when the time is right. (Cry when you need to.)
  • Be safe together.
  • Cherish.
  • Hug.

As children navigate difficult circumstances, help them learn to spot tendrils of joy in the twists and turns of everyday life. Honor their feelings, reinforce their progress, and encourage their creativity as they problem-solve and discover the satisfaction therein. Although hurdles are inevitable, they’re not insurmountable!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Adapted from two of my previous articles, Finding the Joy published at The Creativity Post, and From Disappointment to Joy published in First Time Parent Magazine.

Dr. Joanne Foster

Dr. Joanne Foster, an acclaimed author and educator, has dedicated over 35 years to gifted education and child development. With expertise in psychology and special education, her work empowers parents and educators, fostering creativity and high-level learning in children and teens.

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