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2019 May

Hopes & Dreams

Find out why letting your kids fail teaches them to succeed.

When we hold a baby in our arms, it’s like holding an empty vessel, waiting to be filled with all of life’s grandest dreams. We look into our baby’s eyes and we see a future full of brightness, hope, and most of all happiness. It’s the one thing parents want most for their kids. It’s the one thing we will spend most of our time trying to help them achieve.

Happiness is never a guarantee—even for ourselves. It’s a goal we strive for, but life is full of ups and downs—for parents as well as kids. Sometimes it can be hard to bounce back after a disappointment—or worse a tragic event in our lives. That’s where resiliency and coping skills come in.

Besides promising our children we will do our utmost to keep them safe, healthy, and happy, we need to help them learn to cope with life’s disappointments. The better our kids can cope, the more equipped they are to maintain equilibrium in modern society.

What are some coping skills we can teach our kids?

  • Allow them to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Let them discover how to solve problems.
  • Teach them how to communicate.
  • Stress that it’s OK to share their feelings.

You’ll learn more tips about keeping your child mentally well in this month’s issue—thanks to an article contributed by Stephanie Osler, LCSW, director of mental health services at CHKD. Stephanie also provides red flags parents can be on the alert for—signs that something may be troubling your child. It’s a worthwhile read.

The topic of kids and mental health came to the forefront recently when I saw the film “Beautiful Boy.” It’s a compelling portrait of how a middle-class family comes to terms with addiction and mental health issues. The film is based on a true story, and it’s hard to watch—but so important. With drug overdoses and suicides at all-time highs, especially among young people, we need to be vigilant about protecting our children and introducing them to healthy activities—like sports and the arts.

In addition, we need to ensure that our kids choose friends wisely especially as they enter adolescence. Staying active in our children’s lives is super important during the tween and teen years.

When we gaze lovingly at the peaceful infant in our arms, our hearts swell with love, pride, and excitement. We want the best for our babies—and as they grow up, this means providing boundaries, insight, and guidance.

Parenting is hard work, and keeping our children on the straight and narrow means spending lots of time with them, talking to them about their hopes and dreams, and making sure they know we are there for them 24-7.

Always keep that fierce love in your breast—and be affectionate. A parent’s reassuring touch, a backrub, a hug—these help our kids cope. Having a loving home and caring deeply about our children’s success in life—these are the keys to our children’s future.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you hard-working moms! Keep up the good work.

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and co-publisher of Tidewater Family and Tidewater Women magazines. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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