Three Phrases NOT to Say to Your Kids in Crisis
“Ugh, this isn’t fair! Prom was cancelled, graduation was a pathetic Zoom call, my highly anticipated Varsity year playing baseball never happened… I was robbed of my senior year!”
This is reality for many of our kids. The question though is how do we respond?
“Well it could be worse!” OR “God’s got a plan!” OR “Well when I was your age…”
Hmm. Maybe we go with none of the above! Parenting is filled with moments when we wish we had the perfect response, and probably more times when we said the wrong thing. During these stressful times, what are some things we should avoid saying, and how should we actually respond?
Three Responses to Avoid:
1. Don’t Say, “Everything Will Be Okay.” Instead of trying to fix things or making empty promises, you can say: “I’m so sorry that happened.” OR “I am in your corner no matter what.” OR “My heart really hurts for you right now.”
2. Don’t Say, “At Least…” Instead you can say:“It sounds like you’re really walking through something difficult.” OR “I can’t imagine how hard this must be for you.” OR “How can I help you walk through this?”
3. Don’t Say, “We Don’t Need to Talk about This.” Instead you can say: “How are you feeling about everything? (after they answer, ask, “Is that how you really feel?”) OR “What’s this been like for you to go through all this?” OR “This couldn’t have been easy for you to share. Thank you for trusting me.”
In crisis, there is one thing we do want to say: we want our kids to know this is not the end of the story. Emphasize it’s not the end of their story. If we are followers of Jesus, there is always hope. 2 Corinthians 4:17 tells us that our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. This is all temporary. This life is not the end. Jesus told us in John 16:33 that we could take heart in the troubles of this world because He’s crushed them all. He wins in the end. Let’s stick with Him through the darkest days. Some things we can say are: “Can I pray for you right now?” OR “I know this is a rough chapter of your story, and I’m proud of you for how you’re walking through it.” OR “You are strong and you’re going to get through this.” Walking through crisis is anything but easy. We’ve all said the wrong things…many times. But today is a new day, and let’s keep learning and leaning on Jesus together. Remember, this is not the end of your story.