What Kids Need: Hope

You may be thinking, but no one gave me hope, I just seemed to have it already.  Well, today, less than 70% of kids report having a positive view of their future, of feeling optimistic about their lives.  As an educator of many years, both teacher and school administrator, I often asked kids about their future.  They would usually respond with, ‘Oh, I’m sure I won’t be around,’ or ‘I don’t know, it doesn’t matter.’  Your kids’ attitude about their future matters greatly and will affect their behavior from day to day.  Kids who already feel they don’t have a future or that it doesn’t matter will engage in at-risk behaviors and at a higher level of risk in those behaviors.

Talk with your kids about their dreams and never dismiss them as unrealistic or impossible.  Tell them your goals and what happened to them.  Did you succeed?  Why or why not?  Share your stories with them, and encourage them to dream and share their stories.  Instead of using discouraging words such as, “It won’t work” or “You can’t do that, look at you.”  Use, “try it, I’ll help you” or “Why not, there are people that make a good living doing that; let’s find them together.”  It creates an instant bond, something that you both can look forward to and talk about often.

Another challenge for our youth today is all the media attention on the terrible things in the world.  Kids get overwhelmed with the national news, environmental news, killings, shootings, and injustices that are continually being presented.  Help them through faith to give those concerns to God and to knew that he is in charge and that life will go along.  Help your child to do what they can from their vantage point and then to let it go.  You can offset this by enjoying nature together.  Take time to enjoy a sunset or to eat a snack together on your deck.  Find some simple yet fun things to do with your child once you start doing this, they quickly learn how to offset the stresses of the world themselves when they are on their own.  Enjoy this particular time together.

Yours for Better Parenting,