You’re a long way from home and your child is upset.
“No one likes me,” she says.
“I hate school,” he announces.
Now what do you do? How does an over-the-road dad support his child when he can’t be there in person? You might want to try this approach from Parenting with Love & Logic.
- Show empathy, i.e., express concern with statements like, “Ahhh … I’m sorry. It sounds like you’re having a rough time.” Or, “Tough day, huh?” After you say something like this, let your child talk and resist all impulse to try and solve her problem, i.e., to give advice.
- Ask your child: “What did you think you would do?” Or, “How did you think you would handle this?” Asking questions like these help build your child’s self-confidence and gives them the message that you think they are pretty smart – smart enough to have some ideas about how to sort these things out.
- Ask your child: Would you like some ideas? Assuming your child says something like, “I don’t know what to do?” or has some ideas that may not work (e.g., I’m just going to stay home and play computer games all day.), offer some possibilities. It’s generally best not to offer your best ideas first. Plan to offer at least three ideas.
- Ask your child: How do you think that will work? After each idea or possibility proposed either by you or your child, ask him how he thinks it will work out? What kinds of things will happen if he decides to solve the problem in that way?
- Say to your child: Let me know what you decide and how that works out for you? When you say this sort of thing to your child, you are empowering them to solve their own problems, which is generally what they’ll need to do in the first place. Don’t expect them to always make the best decision. After all, don’t we learn some of the best lessons in life from our mistakes?