Tell me about your children.  What are they like?
The only answer to that question that I would consider truly accurate is:
They’re younger than me.
Any further response that describes “your children” is going to be general and imprecise.  I like parents to be particular.  We tend to look for ways to include a bunch of thoughts and ideas at one time, to generalize.  I don’t think that’s a uniquely American trait, but a visitor to our shores noticed it here back in 1835.  He wrote:
Men of democratic centuries like general ideas because they exempt them from studying particular cases; they contain, if I can express myself so, many things in a small volume and give out a large product in a little time. When, therefore, after an inattentive and brief examination, they believe they perceive a common relation among certain objects, they do not push their research further, and without examining in detail how these various objects resemble each other or differ, they hasten to arrange them under the same formula in order to get past them.  (Alex de Tocqueville, Democracy in America)
What’s wrong with an inattentive and brief examination once you perceive a common relation among certain events or concerns?  Why should you push your research further?  How important can it be to examine in detail how various objects resemble each other or differ?
The first Mishna in Avos says he-vu m’sunim ba’din.  The Rav teaches us this means that a dayan should never to say to himself, “I’ve dealt with this same thing before.”  He should carefully listen to each set of litigants in each case and respect the uniqueness of every case.  The Meiri writes that this message applies to every one of us in every situation.  Even if you think you’ve been there and done that, you still don’t know what it’s like for someone else to be there and be doing it.  Or what it’s like for your child to be apprehensive about being there soon.
When your child, apprehensive of doing something or going somewhere, says, “But I don’t know what’s going to happen; what if I get (fill in the blank, e.g.) nervous, flustered, scared, confused.”
DON”T say, “You’ll be fine, don’t worry.”  Generally speaking, you’re right.  He will be fine and he needn’t worry.  But this particular child, looking forward to this particular situation, is worried, and he doesn’t imagine that he’s going to be fine.  You will be a more effective parent when you invite him to imagine what might not be so fine.  Let him describe it, make it as specific as he can.  Then ask him what he could possibly say and do if what he imagines were to happen.  Ask him how you could help him prepare to get through the situation he imagines.  Don’t deny him his imagination; help him imagine conquering and mastering the challenges he faces, be they real or not.
The general rule is: be particular.  Listen to Rav Wolbe, z”l, on the hidden message of our brachos:  (Alei Shur, Vol II, page 98)
“When you have before you a food on which you say ha’aitz and a food on which you say she-hakol the ha-aitz takes precedence because it is more significant, it only exempts one type of food…  Ha-aitz is more particular and therefore more significant than she-hakol which is just a general bracha for various types.”  
Until here, Rav Wolbe has paraphrased the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 211:3.  Rav Wolbe proceeds to explain:
Our common thinking would say that the bracha she-hakol is more significant; it has the great praise that everything was created by the word of Hashem!  But Chazal do not teach us this way; rather, the more particular a bracha is the more significant it is.  And this is shown by the fact that the “brachos ha-me’ulos b’yosair,” the most exalted brachos are ha-motzei and ha’gafen because they are particular to one thing only.  Thus we see that when we say a bracha acknowledging one specific thing that Hashem created we become more deeply aware that Hashem created every particular thing.
This is fundamental to our faith and our Torah ha’kadosha.  Many nations acknowledge the general idea of Hashem’s creation of and involvement in the world.  But that Hashem created every particular thing and is involved in every particular thing; this is uniquely our faith.  Many nations accept the general idea of mitzvos, such as the Aseres haDibros, but the particular mitzvos and their details are the heritage solely of klal Yisrael.  The Torah which gives us clarity is the Torah she-b’alpeh which lays out the particulars of the mitzvos.  
Amal rav darush la’amod al kol prat u’prat shel sugya achas.  It takes much effort to learn Torah she-b’alpeh.  
And, it takes much effort to be particular for each child, to think about and notice each child, each child’s thoughts, wishes, and concerns.  
How can you do it?  Rav Wolbe asked the same question.  
The answer is ahava.  One who loves wants to know every particular about his beloved.  Every fine detail is precious to him.  (Alei Shur, Vol II, page 97)

Rav Wolbe is speaking of our love for Torah and Hashem.  I am suggesting a parallel lesson in how to express your love for each of your children.  Rav Wolbe is speaking about Torah she-b’alpeh.   I would suggest that the way to express love to your children is to listen to the Torah she-b’alpeh of each of your children, the thoughts and concerns and hopes you invite them to put into words.
Like Torah she-b’alpeh, there is no end to it.  There’s always another opportunity to begin.

Rabbi Yitzchak Shmuel Ackerman is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with specialties in marriage, relationships, and parenting.  He works with parents and educators, and conducts parenting seminars for shuls and organizations.  He can be reached at 718-344-6575.