Parenting: Will you still love me if I don't win? (cont.)
blaine1_WebMD: Our family does a lot of river rafting. One child heard about the death of a child on such a trip, so he won't go with the family on the river. We don't press the issue. Should we?
Andersonn: First of all, one of the most important things is to get the child to talk about what their feelings -- talk about death and life, and what happened. Talk about what they're afraid of, and about death in the world, about the potential of death, but that doesn't mean they're going to die. You don't say these things right away, but work it into the conversation -- have the child talk about the fear, and get that out there. It's all right if they don't want to go, you don't want to force them, but it's valuable for them to talk about their fear, and to talk about it. And then start talking about the auto accidents, plane crashes, all the ways people are hurt... but does that mean stop getting into cars, getting into planes? Listen to their fears, what they're afraid of, listen first... and then talk to them about all the things happening in all walks of life where people are dying, and that doesn't mean you have to stop life or that it's going to happen to you. Get them comfortable to the idea that there is risk to life, and that's a part of life. Point out that you are their parents, and you've done river rafting before... and give the upside. But don't deny their fears. That's important.
Moderator: My day is so swamped, the pressure of work and the commute and then sports all weekend, when is the right time to sit down and listen and talk to your children without appearing stressed out yourself?
Andersonn: It sounds like this person is given no time for their own life... so the first thing to do, and it's difficult with sports, taking care of kids... but try to find a way to find time for yourself. Don't accept the answer that you can't do it -- do it. Find some way to placate your own emotions, where you can relax and to pick your moments, probably on the weekends, or maybe before or afterwards, during some break, because if you don't, and get so caught up in the effects of a busy life, years can go by where it's gone and you can't do anything about it. Take action, and find out what has brought it in... and can you change something -- maybe the amount of the activity on the weekend, or in the job.
Billy_de_WebMD: Children generally have a very vague concept of the future. How can we help communicate the value of hard work when the benefits aren't immediate? How do I keep my child overcome short-term frustration to reach their long-term goals?
Andersonn: I would go back to the sense that hard work isn't necessarily about the results -- it can get you there, but you have to put in a certain amount of work to get there. But look at what you're learning about yourself -- the commitment, the value, your determination and perseverance, that lends to all of your life. Even though you don't get short term rewards, but talk about people willing to give up their lives because of hard work. If people are working just for the results, they'll get bored real quick. There has to be something in the work itself -- the friendship, being able to apply yourself, the results have to come with each day, and not just the end result. It's hard to do that, without some reward right now. Look at what you're actually doing for that reward.
Moderator: Christopher, thank you for joining us. WebMD members, please join us every Wednesday at 1 pm EDT here in the Pregnancy and Parenting Auditorium for our live weekly event. Next week we will be discussing "Healthy Snacks for Children," in a special audiocast and slideshow cooking presentation with Rebecca Marder.
Andersonn: Thank you for having me.
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