What a rollercoaster these past 18 months have been, particularly for our children! As we call time on school and lessons we might be tempted to heave a big sigh of relief and wish for a better September!
I would urge you not to sit on your laurels in hopeful anticipation but to actively find ways to engage and connect with your children each and every day this summer. You see children have a habit of saying everything is ok, when really everything is not. We think we’re asking the right questions, keeping the doors open for conversations when in fact they are storing up a cocktail of angst, comparisons, and self-loathing cloaked in a happy front.
Or more commonly they are rude, disrespectful, door-slamming, bedroom hibernating, anti-social hormone machines who bear no resemblance to the fun-loving mischievous child you felt was there just last summer?? Gosh so much has changed in such a short time!!
What’s happened to them??
I’ll tell you.
A whole 18 months of uncertainty. Of in and out of school. Connected then disconnected from their peer group in a physical and social sense yet totally plugged in to tech.
They’ve had huge amounts of time isolated in their bedrooms, been inside their self-critical heads for too long, compared themselves to almost everyone else, worrying about how their peer group judges them. Everything gets scrutinised; how they look, the clothes they wear, what they say, and who they are are.
Children don’t tell us how they’re feeling in easy, straightforward ways – they tell us with door slamming, answering back, and constant boundary pushing.
This summer do take a moment to exhale yet also connect. Spend time with your child doing what they enjoy – whether that’s scrolling through TikTok, playing Fortnight or watching Ru Paul’s drag race!! Make very effort to connect to their world and they may just let you into the inner chambers of their thoughts.
See this summer as an adventure into uncharted territory, which may yield the greatest haul of gold; a deeper connection with your child. Connection means communication and communication is the key to early detection of mental health issues. It might just save your child’s emotional well-being.