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With the dawn of social media, peer pressure tougher than ever and more emphasis being placed on image and aesthetics, it can be hard to imagine your little angels navigating their way through life. As a responsible parent, you want to help them grow up into well rounded citizens with resilience, tolerance, and politeness.
However, you also want them to be able to talk to you should they have any issues, need a listening ear or want advice. Being a parent isn’t easy but growing up in the technologically advanced twenty first century isn’t either. Take a look and see how you can help your child blossom into a fully functioning adult.
The advent of online platforms was seen as a positive thing in the early noughties. Communication was becoming simpler and more efficient. The world was becoming a smaller place, and there was no need to pick up a telephone to talk to somebody. The online world is now seen through much more cynical eyes, as cyberbullying, trolling and extremist views are aired and shared for all to see.
Twitter has become a hotbed of far right views. Facebook has recently had a data and confidentiality issue. And Instagram is rife with Amaro and Hefe filtered images that create a fake aesthetic. Faces are blotch free, holidays look glorious, and interiors are envy inducing. It seems unrealistic to think that an individual posting photos of their dinner each day can be the root cause of another teenager’s eating disorder. However, with the ideal unattainable, young people go out of their way to try and live up to a fallacy.
To protect your child, you need to be there. Not in a physical sense, but in an emotional sense too. You need your child to feel safe and secure discussing issues with you. Have meals around the table, talk, and enjoy quality family time. Ask them how their day was at school, but don’t be surprised if you get a grunt as a reply.
As our kids hit adolescence and beyond, they are finding out who they really are. This might mean discovering that they are gay, that they want to emigrate or that they have a burning desire to travel. Anything in their lives that they feel could be disappointing to you (however irrational this might be) will cause them stress.
If they choose to marry someone of the same gender only to then have to investigate gay and lesbian divorce, don’t judge them. If they swap jobs dozens of times because they can’t find their calling, allow them to make mistakes. If they are struggling with debt, be there and offer advice without admonishment. This is the essence of being a supportive parent without being confrontational.
Your brood will relish the chance to spend time with you. Yes, you might have to go through the stroppy teenager phase but this is all part of growing up. Empathize and put yourself in your child’s shoes. Only then can you really help them navigate their way through life.