The truth about children and secrets

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Growth spurts or points for children that may create crisis:

  • 8-9 year-olds are developing their emotional intelligence. They're beginning to navigate the world of emotions beyond themselves-i.e. what's happening in the private lives of their fellow students and friends and how their home experiences influence their relationships with our children.

  • 15/16 year-old. This is a time of finding one's identity--a sort of replay of toddlerhood, but at a higher level. It's helpful to remember what a child is doing at 15-years-old they will most likely be doing at 30. This is the beginning of the last 2-3 of legal childhood. This also a time your child needs limits. It allows them to feel protected. They want us to protect them. Don't be fooled. They want us to asks questions and impose curfews and monitor them. They know the world is unsafe. Again this is how we say, "I love you. You matter a great deal to me. I need you."

  • 20's crisis: early life crisis. This is where the culmination of sharing your wisdom and past experiences comes to fruition. Your child has come to see you as a sort of Wikipedia for life. Not that you know everything, you know how to find the answers. The old people use to say that this is the time when your children leave your knees and get on your heart. Sometimes just knowing that they can talk to you--allowing them to talk out their challenges fuels them to go forward, keep at it. Never underestimate the importance of listening. It's one of the prime ways we let our children know we care.

    Tips / advice for parents:

  • Talk to your child each day. Listen to them. Share you nighttime dreams with them. Ask them to share theirs with you.

  • Share your concerns and daily struggles (age appropriate) with your children. Tell and them how you're coping. Invite them to do the same. Tell them how you coped as a child, the challenges your faced when you were their age. Encourage them to share their lives with you. Let them know you are vulnerable, that everyone is. Vulnerability is part of being human. Tell them there is nothing wrong with them if they feel down sometimes.

  • You don't want to die with all your secrets. Oftentimes, the secrets we keep closest to our hearts that when shared become our greatest possibilities for liberation, both of ourselves and of the relationships with those we love. An example is the Gas Crisis. How comfortable are you in sharing your vulnerabilities with your children? We've all been and are being affected by the high price of gas. Sharing your concerns and how you are coping tells children it is okay to be human and have their concerns.

  • Recognize that a crisis is also a growth point. It's all in how we choose to look at it. We have to teach our children how to take the lemons life doles us and make lemonade.

    Parenting Resources:

    Anjuelle Floyd's Website
    Short 200-300 words articles on subjects related to the above. Website: http://anjuellefloyd.com

    FamilyDoctor.org
    Sponsored by American Academy of Family Physicians
    Website: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/children.html

    Communication Tips for Families and Kids
    Website: http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/content/communication_tips.3.19.html

    Positive Parenting
    Website: http://www.communitybridges.org/positiveparenting.html

    Parenting Aspirations 2008/Parenting to-do List
    Website: http://todolistblog.blogspot.com/2008/01/parenting-aspirations-2008.html

    About Anjuelle:
    A graduate of Duke University, Anjuelle Floyd received her MA in Counseling Psychology from The California Institute of Integral Studies, and is also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Ms. Floyd has also studied at The Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology at the Graduate Theological Union.

    She also received her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Port Townsend, Washington. She has received certificates of participation from The Hurston-Wright Writers' Week and the Voices of Our Nations Writing Workshops. Anjuelle facilitates writing groups and provides individual consultation of fiction projects.

    A wife and mother of 25 years, she also gives talks on The Need for Family, the Writing Process as a Path towards Self-discovery and Healing.

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