When it comes to getting unexpected news, stress is expected. But it can be even harder to deal with your child getting unexpected news. After all, as a parent, you want to save your kids. However, it’s important to realize that sometimes just being there is enough. It depends on your child’s age, but usually being available to listen, showing that you care, and guiding when it’s possible, will do more to help you (and them) cope than taking over.
Take time to be available for your child in the days and weeks following the news. Depending on what it is, you may need to let them know that you’re here to talk anytime they want to.
Stick with the Facts
Regardless of the age of your child, focusing on the facts of a situation will always help you avoid being overly emotional about it. Not only will a more stoic stance help your child more, but it’ll help you more too.
Let Them Speak Uninterrupted
Anytime you are feeling stressed about something, you’re being told it’s a sign to let the person talk more. Ask guiding questions but keep your voice calm and supportive and let them get it all out.
Ask Them How You Can Help
Once your child is finished talking, simply ask how you can best help them. Most of the time, they have an answer that they were wishing for so finding out what that is can only be a good thing, even if you cannot do everything they are hoping for.
Show Them Your Love
Even though it’s important to keep some feelings to yourself right now in terms of the words you say and how you react, show them that you love them no matter what. You can feel one way while acting another. For example, “I feel so helpless right now, but I love you, and I will do what I can to support you.”
Let Them Express Their Feelings
Children don’t have a grasp on their feelings in the same way you do. You can feel sad without always crying. You can feel angry without always yelling but kids can’s always, depending on their age group. Let them express their feelings, then give them ideas on how to express them in healthy ways.
Don’t Change Normal Routines
Of course, this does depend on how serious the issue is that is happening, but if you can keep routines normal for yourself and your child, you’ll both get through any type of unexpected news more easily.
Guide and Help Where Appropriate
You don’t have to fix everything for your child. Sometimes it’s okay to allow them to experience the downside of a choice, or to even feel sad or to wallow in grief. Guide them when it’s appropriate but don’t interfere in their natural expression and desire to control their own destiny.
Talk to a Counselor
You may need to take your child to a counselor, but it might even be more important for you to talk to someone. It depends on the type of unexpected news you’re receiving and your child is receiving, but an outside perspective can help you assist your child better while coping in a healthy way.