As a parent, it is vital that you provide a secure and nurturing environment for your son as you guide him through his development. As your son matures, he will inevitably have good days and bad days, as we all do. Help your son manage ups and downs by supporting and guiding him through the tough times, whilst celebrating the victories and encouraging the good times.
Here are some essential tips to help your son manage the ups and downs in life:
Work on coping strategies together
Your son’s emotions can be unexpected, especially as he goes through adolescence and begins to experience different emotions. He will need to learn to manage these emotions. This can make it tricky to prepare for stressful situations or ‘down’ days. You can, however, prepare your son to effectively cope during worrying situations before they arise. These coping strategies may include talking openly about things that may affect him, discussing the importance of expressing emotions, and preparing him for any environmental or physical changes he may experience.
Give him space
Talking about a problem too much can lead to an increase in anxiety. While communication is important, remember to be aware of his boundaries and know when to step back and let him deal with his emotions in his own way. Don’t dwell too much on problems; sometimes the most effective thing you can do is to let your son know that you are there for him when he is ready to talk.
Make the most of the ‘ups’
Like any boy going through adolescence, your son will experience mood swings. These days will affect you as a parent and make you question what he is worried about — it may be as simple as him having a bad night’s sleep, or receiving a lower exam result than expected. Similarly, there will be days when he is energised, chatty, inspired or just simply happy. Make the most of these days; have a meaningful conversation, ask him about life and let him know that you love seeing him happy.
Develop his resilience
Resilience is the ability to cope and prosper in the face of challenges, especially those that are emotional. It’s important to validate your son’s feelings, while at the same time allowing him to diagnose his feelings in his own way. Beyond Blue suggests that resilience is enhanced when children are loved by someone unconditionally, when they can count on their family for being there when they need them and are praised for doing things on their own.
See things from his perspective
Take the time to consider your son’s perspective. Helping your son manage the ups and downs of life isn’t necessarily about giving him your perspective or telling him that his perspective is wrong. It’s ultimately about trying to understand his thought process in order to strengthen your relationship. When you are able to understand his perspective, you can evaluate whether a situation requires concern, guidance or some tough love.
Maintaining strong communication with your son will help ensure that he feels comfortable in talking to you about his ‘lows’ and share with you his ‘highs.’ At Christ Church Grammar School, we focus on boys’ health and wellbeing holistically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. For more information and tips on raising boys to support good wellbeing, subscribe to our monthly enewsletter.