It's a fact of life, there's no controlling when you get bad news. Summer is usually a care-free time for kids, but sometimes life gets in the way. Families are impacted by divorces, illnesses, job losses any time of the year.
Here are some things to think about when you break bad news to your kids.
1) Keep in mind that your kids may not handle the bad news in the same way. BLANCA: You can get different responses from your kids. Meaning that one kid may be calm and the other can lose it. They’re emotional reactions aren’t right or wrong; they’re just different. Their personality, age, maturity level and resilience all play a role in how they handle stress.
2) Don't assume that your child who handles the bad news calmly will remain calm. After some time to process the bad news or realize the impact of the bad news on their lives then your calm kid may start showing stress or have emotional outbursts.
3) As good intentioned parent, you might say to your kid, “Are you sad? Are you mad? Are you scared?” Be careful to not plant seeds how they should be feeling. There’s a difference in helping kids understand that there can be a range of emotions that people typically feel vs. making them feel that they should be feeling a certain way
Breaking Bad News To Kids - Body Language Signs To Watch For
Earlier this morning, we talked about breaking bad news to kids. When you check on your kids, you might get the standard, “I’m fine.” But, are they really?
Here are some clues that things may not be what they seem?
1) You have to pay attention to and know your kid’s baseline behavior. Knowing how they typically respond to situations and stress lets you know when they're acting different.
2) Signs of stress include: Walking away, turning away, fidgeting, locking down their body, showing facial expressions of hurt, pain, anger, sadness. Their gait, posture, energy level, muscle tension all give signs of stress. Kids can camoflauge how they feel for a variety of reasons – thinking that they should be able to handle the stress by themselves or not wanting to worry parents if they think parents are a mess.
3) When you see changes in their baseline behavior then monitor and chat about your observations. Ask questions to figure out what's going on. Let them know that you're available to listen, talk and spend time with them, Don't make a bigger deal about the situation than it has to be. Follow their lead.
Blanca Cobb is a WFMY News 2 Contributing Editor, body language expert and keynote speaker/corporate trainer who covers nonverbal communication, psychology and behavior. Follow her @blancacobb. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively hers.