Working on giving thanks on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is not part of our calendar really, we’re just benefiting from the Black Friday sales. At the same time it’s a good idea to stop and think of what we’re thankful for and encourage our families to do the same. 

grateful list Realising what’s going on in our lives that we should be and are grateful for makes us happier, more resilient people. It doesn’t come naturally for some, so it’s something to talk about to your son or daughter about.

Breaking negative thought patterns

It can be very easy for a young person to get caught in trap of thinking, “Why me?”, when something goes wrong, or thinking they’re not good enough.

Social media thrives on young people comparing themselves to others, not just friends but celebrities and so of course they come up short.

What do you actually feel thankful for?

Learning to shift that way of thinking to realise what you have to be thankful for can take a bit of work and encouragement.

Friends first

Depending on the age of your son or daughter, it may seem that their main priority is their friends. Navigating friendships is tricky when you’re young and there are a lot of unsaid rules that can cause problems for young people.

Talking to them about that, and letting them realise in some cases having one, or two really good friends is enough. 1,000 Facebook friends aren’t the same and working on Instagram followers may seem really important but communicating how important close friends are is a tip for life.

How to be more thankful?

For both parents and young people alike, the advice is the same. It sounds a bit Waltons-y but as a family taking stock and working out what your all grateful for is good for all of you.

A daily diary or gratitude list helps us look at things everyday that we’re grateful for no matter how big or small helps us be more resilient, happier people.

Suggesting to your son or daughter that they start to really take note of the positives in their lives, means they can repeat them and return them for others.

Don’t let this year’s Thanksgiving pass by, without giving thanks.

Father role models on International Men’s Day

Today is International Men’s Day. On 19 November every year it’s day to focus on improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models.

men's day posterIf you’re a father, you are a role model to your children and your influence is important. This can often be more than you might realise, the older your children get.

Encouraging good health

In your family, one of the best ways to encourage good health is actually by “modelling” a positive approach. A bit of a “do as I do”.

Eat well, sleep well

Getting regular exercise, eating well and making it a habit to wind down before bed are all things that are good for us. These good habits are easier to instill if it’s something you’re all doing.

You may already be aware of how difficult it is to get Netflix turned off in bedrooms if you’re on the laptop all night.

Talking things out

Communication is a really important in families and not always easy.

Creating a family environment where your sons or daughters can talk to you about what’s going on with them takes regular effort. Checking in as often as you can, will make it easier for when there’s a difficulty.

There may not be a difficulty either, just checking in with your son or daughter, taking an interest and making them feel listened and valued will build their sense of self-esteem. This helps them build the confidence they need to have happy, fulfilled lives.

Helping a young person experiencing anxiety

Anxiety is an issue more and more for young people, according to both young people and parents we’ve spoken to.

stress ball Dealing with your child’s anxieties can be challenging.

We’ve taken some tips from American social worker Janet Lehman to help you to support a young person in your life.

Reassurance

Reassure your son or daughter while giving them some space. Step in when required and be ready to listen, but also, be ready too to take a step back from it.

Help without taking over

It may be a good idea for you to offer a helping hand. Remember, though, whatever they’re going through, it can be better not to jump in and solve it for him/her.

Anxiety is normal

Your son or daughter might be worrying about something and airing it can help it not grow legs. Talking to them and telling them that this is completely normal may help put him/her at ease.

Don’t tease or minimise

Whatever the cause may not seem like a big problem to you but their anxieties can’t be ignored. Hear them out.

Don’t negate

Your son or daughter may be exaggerating the problem, but it’s better not to deny the existence of it. Instead, encourage them to get some perspective, if they ask, help them.

Monitor yourself

There are important things you need to do to ensure that you are looking after yourself in addition to your family. Don’t underestimate the impact of your own mood on the rest of the family.