LivingWhy we should not hide difficult situations from children:...

Why we should not hide difficult situations from children: seven keys to managing and addressing these moments

Among the many things that parents can do to build our children’s trust in us is to always speak honestly to them ; In other words, not promising things that we know we are not going to fulfill and of course, never lying to them, even if we are living a difficult time and we believe that hiding the truth from them will benefit them.

We tell you why it is not good to hide difficult situations from children , and what you can do to explain the truth to them in a way appropriate to their age and understanding.

Why do we adults hide difficult situations from children and how it can affect them

In life we can live difficult moments , such as a serious illness, the death of a loved one, financial problems that affect the family, a separation or divorce, an accident, a job dismissal …

In short, complicated situations that affect us deeply and that even adults find it difficult to handle, because they cause us great pain, frustration, sadness, anger or helplessness.

For this reason, we tend to hide it from children in our eagerness to protect them and prevent them from suffering, without realizing that with our attitude we could be harming them more than benefiting them.

And, to begin with, it is important to be aware that children are great observers , so they will quickly detect that something is wrong. They may see us sadder, irritated, moody, or unwilling to play with them, or they may simply notice that the atmosphere at home is more tense.

In any case, they will know that something is happening , so not telling them what is happening could lead them to imagine things more distressing to them than reality itself, or even to think that they are to blame for whatever is happening.

But in addition to causing children to feel helpless, anguish, anxiety, worry or lack of confidence in ourselves and in themselves, hiding difficult situations from them also has other drawbacks .

On the one hand, we will be overprotecting our child and preventing him from facing the difficulties of life. This will make you grow up in an unreal world, because always, sooner or later problems, potholes or complicated situations end up appearing that need to be addressed.

That’s when resilience comes into play , a competition that allows us to face and overcome adversity. But resilience is not innate in humans, and our children need our example and help to learn it.

Thus, when we explain to our son a difficult situation that we are going through , he will understand that problems exist, but that it is necessary to face them and overcome them. In addition, in many cases the situation could leave you positive lessons, such as the importance of being united in the face of adversity, of protecting and helping each other, of looking for solutions …

On the other hand, it is good and necessary that our children see us cry and that we talk about how we feel, because learning and managing their own emotions will depend fundamentally on our example.

Seeing us and talking naturally about what the problem or situation causes us, they will understand that all emotions are valid and they will learn resources and tools to manage them in a positive way.

Tips for dealing with difficult situations with children

After analyzing the reasons why it is not advisable to hide difficult situations from children, we share some tips that could help you face the moment of telling them what is happening:

1) Take care of the way you communicate the news

Although we mentioned above the importance of showing children how we feel, when it comes to communicating impact news for the first time, it is advisable to do so as calmly as possible to avoid frightening them, and not to fall into negative, defeatist or catastrophic phrases or expressions.

2) Tell the truth adapting the message to the child

We have to speak to our children with sincerity, avoiding the use of euphemisms or confusing language for the child, not giving false hope, not promising things that we know we will not fulfill …

It is also important to tailor our message to the age, understanding or maturity of the child. In this sense, if he is very small and the situation involves certain complex details that he might not understand, it is preferable to ignore them and focus only on offering a clear, direct and understandable message for him.

3) Encourage communication and dialogue

Don’t just speak to yourself and encourage dialogue and communication with your child by encouraging him to ask you all his doubts , asking him open-ended questions that help you find out how he feels or what he thinks, or inviting him to express his emotions.

4) Help him manage his emotions

But beyond expressing how they feel, it is also important for the child to learn to identify and manage that emotion , know how to name it and recognize what physical and emotional signals it provokes.

If they are young, we can help ourselves with cards, educational resources or stories that help them to put out everything they feel or worry about.

5) Respectful accompaniment

It goes without saying that our respectful accompaniment is always essential, but especially in difficult situations.

“Accompanying” means being physically present, not judging, making invisible or belittling their feelings, and encouraging physical contact through caresses, hugs or co-sleeping if the child needs it, since the arms of mom and dad are the best refuge in uncertain situations.

6) Share the problem with them

Giving the child the opportunity to voluntarily contribute their behaviors, ideas or proposals that help to improve the problem we are facing will make them feel better, more secure, confident and positive.

And it is that we all need to feel useful and valid within our family or social group, especially when difficulties arise and help between each other becomes essential. So ask your child how he thinks he can help and encourage him to find solutions and alternatives that make him feel useful.

Obviously we must do it with tact, respecting their time and maturity, and without putting pressure on or carrying responsibilities that do not correspond to them.

7) Seek professional help

But even if we are by your side, involve you and do everything possible to help you navigate the situation, the help of a professional may be necessary. That is why it is important to be attentive to the warning signs that will allow us to intervene early.

Likewise, if as adults we feel that the situation we are experiencing is beyond us and we are not able to help our child, it is also essential to seek help.

Photos | iStock, Pexels

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