One thing we know for certain is that our kids will go through things. They’ll have a crisis of identity, of faith, of social status. They’ll be overwhelmed. They’ll be confused. They’ll have questions. They’ll doubt themselves.
It would be wonderful if we could guide them through all these things, but that’s going to be impossible. Because even though we went through our own issues as kids, and as much as we’d like to hold their hand through it all, we’re not always going to be there. As we’ve said before, we’re not always going to be able to understand. They’re not always going to be willing to hear from us anyway.
But you know what we can always do? We can point them towards the greatest resource in history: the written word. No matter what your kids are going through, no matter how strange or unique their issues seem, they need to understand that lots of people have struggled with that exact issue. And there are many books on this topic.
“My daughter and I shared books when she was growing up,” the great Judy Blume recently said. “Books can help you talk about tough topics. We still talk about books and trade titles we’ve recently enjoyed. When I was growing up my mother was always reading when I came home from school. She had trouble talking to me about anything but she’s the one who handed me Anne Frank’s ‘Diary of a Young Girl.’”
Books are a wonderful way to slip past your children’s defenses. A wonderful way to indirectly give them advice. A wonderful way for you both to learn about something. Find books you think will be helpful and put them in their room–read them together, pay them to read them, leave them around the house. Read the ones you hear them talking about or that their friends are reading.
Let the experiences of the past, of the written word, teach them…and you.