Do you ever have days when your child comes home heartbroken because someone else got the lead in the play? Or they didn’t make the Cross Country Team? Or they weren’t chosen for the position they really wanted? Or make the team they really believed they were going to make ?
Today is one of those days. And it breaks my heart because there is nothing I can do to fix it.
When your child comes home with one of these stories, it’s one of those times you just have to listen. Listen doesn’t mean fix. It just means be there for them. So many times we are presented with a problem, and our GO TO reaction is “how can I fix this for them?” And as noble as that is, it is not empowering, nor is it your job. Your job is to listen, love, be their safe place, and mostly to help them through it in a way that ensures their self-esteem remains in tact.
Goes against every parenting instinct, doesn’t it?
I find this one of the hardest parts of being a parent. To let go and let them ‘feel’ what the real world is like. I would rather keep them in a safe bubble where they don’t feel disappointment, or hurt, or any of the ugly things the world can sometimes throw at us. But then I realise I would be failing as a parent. I need to equip them with that ‘bounce back and just try again’ attitude… not that “your coach is a dumb ass and I will go down there this minute and fix this!” sense of entitlement that so many of our kids grow up with these days.
Do you know that Abraham Lincoln tried for 22yrs before he was successful at anything? He suffered a nervous breakdown twice… He was born in a one-room log cabin! He failed and failed and failed over and over again but somehow he had that positive attitude of determination that kept him going and made him achieve the ultimate job in the USA.
So instead of being that parent who feels the need to interfere on the sidelines and ‘fix’ everything for your children, be the parent who acknowledges that life does sometimes throw you lemons and teach your children that what you do with them is the important part. Listen to them. Hear what they are saying. Support them. But do not weaken them by trying to fix it for them.