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How is your conversations influencing your child?

As a child, I remember sitting in a room full of adults on multiple occasions and hearing them talk about all sorts of things.  They probably didn’t even notice me as they were talking, but I heard every word they said.  Some of the things they talked about were nice and positive, but a lot of things were negative.  They would complain about the state of our country, the economy and the hopelessness of today’s world.  They would talk about how many people were jobless and sick and how this or that guy was the victim of crime.  The more I heard, the more terrified I became.  I started thinking what is going to happen to ME?  What if I never got a job?  What if I became the victim of crime? 

As I grew older, I understood their frustrations.  But I also realized that we as adults have a huge responsibility towards the younger generation.  We are the ones who must give them hope and something to look forward to.

Take a moment to think about your life.  What is the main topic of conversation when you are with your adult friends?  Do you complain about life, how unfair everything is?  How there is no hope in this world?  Do your children hear this?  How do you think it makes them feel to hear from their parents that there is no hope?

Many children are extremely depressed, anxious and fearful about life.   Whenever the adults are talking, all they hear is negativity.  In many cases, this leads to hopelessness and suicidal thoughts.  Suicide is the second leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 29, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a new report.  Many factors play a role in suicide, but it is important for us as adults to create an environment of positivity around our children.  Yes, the realities of todays world can be scary. But shouldn’t we rather equip our children with skills and knowledge to handle this world in a positive way?  To look for solutions instead of fixating on the negative?

How can we do this?

  1. Teach your child problem solving skills. Do not do everything for him or her. If he is struggling with something, guide him to come up with a solution, instead of solving the problem for him.  For instance, when a toddler is playing on a jungle gym, and he suddenly realises that he is stuck and can’t get off, what do you do?  Do you run to him and take him down?  Or do you talk him through figuring out a way to get down (obviously you stand right by him and make sure he doesn’t get hurt!).  By teaching him to figure out a way to get down, you are developing his problem-solving skills.  He will learn that no matter what life throws at him, he can come up with a solution;
  2. Encourage creativity. To survive in a competitive world, you need to be able to think outside of the box.  Teach your child to think differently.  Encourage him to build things, draw things, create things in a totally different way.  Let him celebrate his uniqueness.   Don’t force him to do things the way everyone else does it;
  3. Use positive words. When speaking to your child, or even around your child, use positive words like “I can”, and “it is possible”.  Don’t’ focus on what can’t be done.  Rather focus on what CAN be done.  Make him understand for example that although there might be a high unemployment rate, he can rise above it and create something as an entrepreneur.  Where there is a will, there is always a way;
  4. The most important thing you as a parent can do, is to not be negative around your child. Don’t complain about this country, the economy or anything else.  Make him feel that if he works hard, he will have a bright future.  If he uses his creativity and problem-solving skills, he will succeed and reach his potential.  Nothing will be able to get him down. 
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