How to tell your child about family problems


Agree, it is difficult to find a family in which everything would always be sweet and smooth. Adults are not surprised by clashes of interest and flare-up quarrels, but if there is a child in the family, the situation becomes more complicated. Is it worth it to devote children to «adult» problems and how to tell them about them correctly?

To hush up or not to hush up?

Many parents try to comply with the “Only not with the child” setting. Like, you can swear, beat dishes, remind each other of «sins» — anything, but not in front of your son or daughter. In their presence, you should pretend that everything is fine, even if at that moment you want to immediately get a divorce or howl at the moon. But is it right?

Most psychologists agree that this should never be done. In families where conflicts and problems are hushed up, anxious adults with a tendency to depression often grow up. It is understandable — something is clearly happening around, but no one explains anything to the child about it.

Some mothers and fathers accumulate discontent, anger, resentment for years, trying to play friendliness in front of the child. Sometimes they are even proud of their own self-control, believing that their deceit is not noticeable. But this is just an illusion!

Even non-verbally, adults send signs to each other that scream discontent and tension. It can be a barely noticeable look, sudden movements, atypical behavior, trembling, lethargy, apathy. Children masterfully read such signals, passing them through themselves!

There are many examples when already adults told how in childhood they were well aware that there are problems in the family, but for some reason the parents do not talk about them. Yes, and the children themselves often share thoughts with psychologists in the style of «I’m afraid that my parents will get divorced» or «I hear mom / dad crying at night.»

Silencing family problems from a child has a big minus. Toddlers brought up with the mindset «Not in front of children» often experience great difficulty in expressing their own emotions and expressing their thoughts. And they often duplicate the parental behavioral model in their own relationships. In addition, such children learn not to trust their feelings, because for many years they have been convinced that their worries are in vain.

Talking to children about problems in the family is very important and necessary. If only because the child is a full member of your family. In addition, silencing negativity alone is not an adequate way to solve problems. But talking about problems, finding constructive solutions (including joint ones), developing the skill of managing anger, fear or resentment is another matter! The child will be able to adopt sincerity from parents, the ability to listen and hear, negotiate, seek compromises, conduct a constructive dialogue, correctly explain and convey their feelings.

Family problems: what not to talk about

The task of moms and dads is not to completely protect the child from family problems, but to talk to him correctly about what is happening.

What is not recommended:

Dedicate the child to unnecessary details. If a beloved grandfather was admitted to the hospital, the grandson does not need to know how rapidly the disease develops and how many stitches the grandfather received after the operation. In general, any excessive coloring of the situation and forcing the atmosphere should be excluded.

push the child away. If the parents have already initiated the child into the course of the matter, further repulsion is simply unacceptable. You should not dismiss him with such phrases: “You know that we have problems, behave normally”, “Now we are not up to you, stop it.” Such statements can make the child feel guilty and create a sense of alienation from adults.

throwing accusations. We are talking not only about relatives, close ones, but even about third-party people who find themselves in the “epicenter”. “It’s all because of your cheating dad”, “If your mom had been more careful, she wouldn’t have had an accident”, “Grandma herself is to blame for being put in the hospital: she should have been examined earlier!” Such statements are not only incorrect and devaluing, they also put a lot of pressure on the child (“If dad is to blame, then I need to treat him differently now?”), Which leads to stress.

How to talk to your child about family problems

A few helpful tips will help moms and dads build a trusting conversation with their child about family problems.

Start with questions. It is best to immediately ask the child a question if he has already heard about the family problem and if so, what exactly. Perhaps he heard one of the parents crying or screaming loudly. It is good to find out how the child interpreted what happened for himself. This will help you choose the right words for further explanation.

Data. As mentioned above, it is not necessary to dedicate the child to unnecessary details. But, of course, it is necessary to paint a picture in general facts. The emphasis should be on what happened, when, how you feel about it, why you are so worried, angry or offended. Discuss with the child and his attitude to the facts that were revealed to him. Support your son or daughter.

Make it clear that the difficulties are not endless. It is important for children not only to realize the problem, but also to understand that sooner or later it will definitely be resolved. It is enough to simply reduce the children’s level of stress by saying: «Now we have difficulties, but together we will certainly cope.» So the child will understand that problems are part of our life, but they are all solvable.

Show patience. Often the child is only temporarily satisfied with the answers of the parents, and then returns with questions. It is important for moms and dads to be patient, especially when they themselves have already run out of strength to discuss family problems that have become one big trigger. You can say this: “Now I am very sad, I am not ready to discuss this topic. Let me take a break and think about those questions, and tomorrow I will definitely answer them and we will discuss what you wanted to know.

Let your child take part in family life. Say that he is not to blame for conflicts, quarrels and other problems. Support the children in every possible way and thus let us understand that any difficulties can be overcome and that it is important to share your experiences. Working together is a great way to solve a variety of problems.


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