things about your child

4 Things About Your Child That You Need to Know

One night, after my wife and I put our kids to bed, I heard a noise outside our room. I opened our door to find our 12-year-old daughter standing there sobbing. We tried to find out what was wrong, but she was crying so uncontrollably that she couldn’t speak. As I hugged her and tried to calm her down, she only communicated by nodding her head while she cried. She was having a full-blown panic attack brought on by overwhelming anxiety. We were shocked—we had no idea she was dealing with any stress. It’s one of those things about your child you feel like you should know.

Until that point, our daughter appeared to be living a carefree, successful childhood. We know a lot about our kids. We know their favorite TV shows, the foods they refuse to eat, and the things we do that embarrass them. We know so much that it can be hard to believe there are some things we may not know. But there are topics for conversation and areas to observe that we need to make sure we don’t neglect. Here are 4 things about your child that you need to know.

1. What They Worry About

If we can determine what triggers our kid’s emotional responses, we can be more understanding.

Depression and anxiety are growing problems for kids. Kids who are active feel pressure to have success in their activities. Kids who aren’t involved in activities may feel lonely or insignificant. They can feel social pressure to fit in. As their minds become capable of abstract thought, many may even worry about concepts like death.

We can’t keep our kids from worrying, but if we can determine what triggers their emotional responses, we can be more understanding. We can help reduce stress and watch for warning signs that they may need additional support and possibly even professional help.

2. Who Their Friends Are

As kids grow and become more independent, we have less and less control over their social groups. While it’s important for us to allow our kids to develop their freedom, it’s also important for us to understand the other influences they have. We need to ask who they are spending their time with, but we can also go deeper than that. We can ask what they like about their friends and if their friends are positive influences. Even if they don’t really open up to us, it lets them know we care, and it may cause them to consider the types of people they choose to be around.

3. What They Are Passionate About

We know what activities we sign our kids up for, but do we know if they enjoy those activities? Are they interested in something we may not be aware of? As a basketball coach, I have always been focused on my kids’ involvement in athletics, so I was surprised when my kids asked to participate in the robotics club and the folk dancing club. Luckily, my wife was aware enough to support them in getting involved in these activities, which have helped them to become more well-rounded in their interests. Our kids’ passions may not be the same as ours, but if we can find out where their passion lies, we can help develop it.

4. What They Are Doing in School

With school websites and computer programs, it has become fairly easy to check our kids’ grades, so we generally know how they are doing in school. But knowing what they are doing might be more important. If we talk to them about what they are doing, it gives them a chance to explain the content they’re learning, and it gives them an opportunity to ask us questions. That can help us understand how well they are really learning the content, which is much more valuable than just seeing their grades.

Sound off: What are some more things about your child that are important for you to know?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is something about you that I don’t know?”