As a parent, you want your child to learn from the experience of pressure as part of the process of growing up. You also want to do whatever you can to help your child cope with the pressures in life and to prevent the pressures from becoming insurmountable. Obviously, you cannot eliminate many of these pressures, even if you really wanted to. But you can help your child face them and you can avoid adding to them to make them worse.
- Provide guidance in dealing with pressure. Your child could take one of three general approaches…retreat, capitulation or action…to reduce the stress. You can help your child determine what action would be most effective in a given circumstance.
- Let your child know you care. Be available to help her or him work out difficulties. When a child has the security of parental love and respect, pressure can be met with self-confidence. Be supportive, not smothering. The more children feel they have solved problems themselves, the more assurance they feel the next time.
- Be a positive force in your child’s life, not a major pressure point. Throughout school years, avoid making unrealistic demands. It is fine to start education early, but don’t pressure children to learn or to read before they are ready. Let them feel they are reaching for their own goals, not satisfying your needs. Don’t push children into early social experiences…they will mature emotionally and physically at their own rate.
- Teach your child to live with limitations. No one excels in everything; no one is perfect. It is not your child’s particula
- r handicaps that are crucial, but his or her attitude toward them. Children should know their limits and recognize their strengths.
- Help your child find time to be alone….time to think, to dream, to plan, to make decisions.
- Ground your child in a system of values. Even if pressures become overwhelming, you do not want your child to seek ethically unacceptable means of dealing with them. Students who have cheated report a wish for more parental direction, firm rules and guidance in determining right and wrong.
- Encourage your teenager to develop self-responsibility. Volunteer service, such as community work, provides one of the few remaining outlets in adolescence for independence, cooperative rather than competitive activity and useful and socially necessary work.