Talking to Our Girls About Uncertainty
As a parent, it goes without saying that there has been a lot of upheaval and uncertainty in our children’s lives over the last two years. Kids have had to adjust to remote education, then navigate the transition back into in-person learning. In some cases, this has happened over and over again as school districts attempt to protect students, teachers, and administrators from the worst effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Even though the thought of this uncertainty has many parents eager to step in and alleviate it for their children, the reality is this period can be a time of great growth and learning – if we’re able to handle it correctly.
Today, let’s talk about how parents can speak to their girls about uncertainty. I’ll also share some practical tips on how to make these tough conversations just a little bit easier.
Starting the Conversation
As tempting as it is to reassure, comfort, and soothe, parents must become adept at navigating slightly more uncomfortable feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, and even fear. Instead of simply delaying the inevitable conversation, or smothering their worries with bland reassurances, the best types of conversations address uncertainty head-on.
Here are a few practical considerations for beginning this conversation in an empathetic and thoughtful way.
Manage your own anxiety
One of the realities of anxiety is that it’s very difficult to separate from once you’re inside of it. If you’re feeling anxious, stressed, or otherwise elevated, take some time to calm yourself before beginning a conversation with your child.
Set the tone
As a parent, it’s up to you to set the tone of how the conversation will go. Since they’re hearing all this important news through you, your tone has a huge influence on how they react.
If your child is stressed, worried, or afraid, strive to remain calm and collected. Take your cues from them and invite their questions without encouraging them to give in to fear or anxiety.
Be developmentally aware
While you should always seek to be honest with your children, there are certain elements of information that may not be developmentally appropriate to share, depending on their age. If they have questions, try to answer them as best as you can. The most important thing that your girls should be taking away from every conversation is that you’re sharing information with them honestly, and you’re available to answer questions whenever they need you.
At the end of the day, your children are looking for someone who can help soothe their insecurities and reassure them that things will be ok. Even if their current circumstances are uncertain, you can offer reassurances that they are protected and safe and have parents or guardians who are there looking out for them.
The Benefits of Uncertainty
When children are developing, their prefrontal cortexes are busy taking in and processing new information, which leads to new or strengthened connections in that area of the brain. This information helps boost their cognitive development, and as a result, creates greater resilience and strength that they can tap into as they grow older.
Without this resilience, our girls may grow up into adults who are more likely to give in when the going gets tough, or rely on poor habits like learned helplessness to get by.
Has the uncertainty of the last few years affected your daughter’s attitude towards school, hobbies, and other things she used to enjoy? Our educational mentoring service is a hands-on experience designed to address these types of issues by working with your daughter to build practical strategies and resources that can help her feel more confident.