Do I Need To Tell Bad News To Children: The Opinion Of A Psychologist

Table of contents:

Do I Need To Tell Bad News To Children: The Opinion Of A Psychologist
Do I Need To Tell Bad News To Children: The Opinion Of A Psychologist

Video: Do I Need To Tell Bad News To Children: The Opinion Of A Psychologist

Video: How To Deal With Child With ODD 2022, December

5 reasons why you need to tell your child not only good news, but also bad news. A step-by-step algorithm on how to do it correctly.

It’s safer for the child’s psyche if the parent breaks the news, but it’s important to do it right
It’s safer for the child’s psyche if the parent breaks the news, but it’s important to do it right

“He is still small”, “It is too early for him to know about it”, “There is no need to talk about it - it traumatizes him”, “There is nothing to load him with adult topics”, “Do not take childhood away from the child” - with such behavior the parents render the child a disservice …

Experts from the American Psychological Association are convinced that parents should tell their children bad news. For example, you need to talk about the death of a relative or illness of someone close, the death of a pet, the dismissal of a parent and a decrease in family income, the impending divorce of mom and dad, etc. - you need to talk about everything that concerns the child, even if it seems that it injures the son or daughter.

Why Telling Your Child Bad News

Why is it important to talk to a child not only about good, but also about bad:

  1. Children understand everything, hear, see and feel. They perfectly read the emotional state of the parent and in difficult situations experience an increased level of anxiety. The child understands that something bad is happening, but what exactly he does not know. This deprives him of a sense of security and stability, triggers the development of phobias, insecurity, low self-esteem, and increased anxiety.
  2. Children's fantasy has no boundaries. As soon as the child suspects something was wrong, he will start to fantasize. For example, if he notices that mom has recently become kind of lethargic, has lost her appetite, etc., then he will think that mom is seriously ill. And for a child, this is the biggest nightmare. It won't even occur to him that in fact my mother has lost her job or is worried about some other reason.
  3. Children tend to look for the cause of any changes in the family within themselves. Example: Mom and Dad think about divorce, they often scandal and quarrel, sleep in different rooms and avoid each other. In their scandals, the following phrases slip through: “The child has nothing to feed!”, “The child needs to buy books when he is still in school,” and so on. The child hears and notices all this, and also takes it personally. He thinks Mom and Dad are fighting over him. Having made a conclusion about his own "badness", he develops a plan to save the family, that is, he tries to be good, convenient, "inexpensive." He tries different things, but nothing helps. Not surprising, given that the relationship between mom and dad is not within his area of ​​responsibility and control, but the child does not understand this. He continues to criticize, scold, blame himself even more. This flywheel cannot be stopped. But everything could have been avoided if mom and dad said: “Yes, we have a misunderstanding in our relationship now. But we want you to know: these are our personal problems that do not apply to you. And even if dad and I stop being husband and wife, we will still remain your mom and dad. "
  4. Trauma from an unexpected encounter with negativity and / or its consequences. For example, no one told the child about the fatal illness of the grandmother, and then they reported death. An unexpected loss, regret that you were not able to say goodbye or spend the last days together will cause more damage to the psyche than a farewell stretched out in time. In addition, if one day a child finds out that his parents lied to him, hid the truth (albeit with the best intentions), it is highly likely that he will be offended by mom and dad, and his trust in them will weaken.
  5. Truth and real facts are always better than unjustified hopes and lies for good. For example, if a pet died, then it is better to say about it, and not lie that he ran away. Grieving over death will take less time and effort than waiting for a pet for a lifetime. Hope, uncertainty, and a sense of powerlessness are more damaging to the psyche.

Well, and most importantly, parents must explain to the child that there is both black and white in the world, both joy and sadness. But it is important not only to explain, but to teach him how to experience troubles and difficulties, understand and express emotions, change circumstances or adapt to what cannot be changed.

If you raised a child in greenhouse conditions, then when in adulthood or even in childhood outside the home he encounters negative things, this will cause irreparable harm to his psyche. Addictions, mental disorders, passivity, complexes - all this haunts those who are not ready for reality.

What is the right way to tell your child bad news?

Choose a convenient time and place to give your child the bad news
Choose a convenient time and place to give your child the bad news

We have learned that you need to give your child not only good news, but also bad news. It remains to determine how to do this correctly:

  1. Be clear about your thoughts. Think about what, how and why you want to tell your child. Give up impromptu - think over the content and wording.
  2. Choose a convenient time. The conversation should not take place casually when the child is in a bad mood or sick. It is best to invite your child to a conversation on a weekend, somewhere around lunchtime. Do not forget that you must be in a state where you can master this conversation.
  3. Start your conversation by feeling the ground. Ask what the child already knows about the topic of your conversation, if he heard about it at all.
  4. Share your feelings and experiences on this topic. Isn't that just how you start this conversation? This means that it somehow bothers you, worries you.
  5. Tell us everything you know yourself. Speak only the truth, but in a way that is appropriate for the age and development of the child. It is good to give examples from life, fairy tales, films, etc.
  6. Remain calm and make it clear that everything will be fine. Avoid empty promises. It should be “all is well” in the sense of “we can handle it”.
  7. Play out the child's emotions and feelings. Help him understand and live the state that has arisen, talk about his state.
  8. Be there. In conclusion, say that if the child has any questions, he can always turn to you. On this topic or another - it does not matter. You are always there.
  9. End on a positive note. Hug the child, offer him tea.

Don't get carried away with the details. If the child does not ask additional questions himself, then there is no need to load him. However, be prepared for the fact that, perhaps, questions will appear later (the child needs time to process the information). If later the child asks something, then answer. Again, with a focus on age and the individual level of development of the child.

Popular by topic