Recently our children had a moment of crisis, well not a real crisis, it was more of an anxiety attack. Over what you may ask? Well, it was about the future. All three of our children are now teenagers, two of them are in high school and one is in middle school [his last year].
With the new school year starting, we were picking out electives for our high schoolers, all the sudden they both looked bewildered and anxiety crept in. I stopped reading out the content and turned to our daughter and son.
“What’s going on you guys? What’s wrong?” I asked them.
For a moment we sat there in silence.
When the silence broke, our daughter looked at me and said, “Mom, I don’t know if I can do this. I am scared.”
I took a deep breath and smiled at her. “Honey, let me tell you, what you and your brother are feeling right now, it is completely normal!”
I pulled them in close and we had a long talk about how many people every day, are going through the same thing. How they are trying to figure out what to do for the future.
I think sometimes, we as parents, often forget how frightening this time in their lives can be. Here they are in a part of their lives where they are having to decide a pathway. A pathway for their future.
It can be daunting trying to figure out what it is you want to do with your life, where you are to go next, and hoping with everything you have that your future will be a promising one.
Sure, the kids have counselors in school, who are supposed to help with the choices of picking out an “educational pathway.” But, what if the choices that are offered by schools, do not fit into the path or the idea that your child has about their own futures?
This is where you, as the parent and or guardian come into play. It is our job to help them feel less afraid. To know that they are not alone in the planning of their futures. That we are there to help them create a better life, a better plan, a better future than we might have had.
I told my children stories about how everyone in our family had several different career paths in life, that it was perfectly okay to change your mind, over and over again. There is no shame in changing your mind, or even changing your career path, once you have started.
I also, reassured them that no matter what it is they choose to do in life, that I will always be there to support them. That we as parents, my husband and I, will always love them.
No child should ever feel like there journey in life is one they have to take on their own. Children, yes even teenagers, need a sturdy support system!
Here are a few things you can do, should you run into a situation like we did the other day.
- Tell them they are not alone.
- Give them a hug or a kiss.
- Let them know you love and support them.
- Tell them what they are feeling is normal!
- Sit down together and make a plan.
- If they are still unsure about what it is they want to do, tell them that it is okay to change their minds.
- If there isn’t an elective that supports their dreams and or pathway, find something that can be incorporated into it.
- If there still isn’t anything that fits their needs, start looking for extra classes outside of the school itself.
- Most importantly, LISTEN to them!
It only takes one person to believe in a child, to change their lives and create a better future. Make sure that you are that person for your child.