It is so hard to watch the children we love in pain. Every mothering instinct wants us to jump in and take the pain away. I believe that most of us want our children to be happy all the time and when they are not, it can strip us down. We ask questions like; “What am I doing wrong?” “What can I do to take their bad feelings away?” The truth is however, pain is as much a part of life as joy and when we experience both we are whole. Both joy and pain make us strong and are the building blocks of the courage we need to create a life worth living.
My little one is struggling with his transition to school and while he is doing great at school, his feelings overwhelm him at home. He breaks down over the tiniest things, blows up when in the past he would laugh it off. The other day he broke down just like that and as I took him in my arms and held him tight, he melted into me and I felt his tears vibrating from deeper within him than the surface. I felt his struggling and it broke me. I held him for as long as he allowed and I mouthed to Trent, “please make him feel big!” I walked away to wipe my own tears and of course felt those familiar feelings of a mother wanting to rescue him. I know in my heart that this is a transition that will serve him, but the truth is, it hurts.
There are a few things that make me stronger in these moments and give me the courage to trust,
- Doing what’s true DOES NOT ALWAYS FEEL GOOD. We must breath in all our strength and have the courage to trust ourselves and the conscious decisions we have made. At the same time if our choices have been unconscious and will not serve our children or ourselves, it takes the same courage to make the necessary changes.
- Our children need us to allow them to feel their pain despite how desperate it makes us feel. If we can do that, they can move through the feelings that are overwhelming them and out the other side. The Band-Aid fix is to take the pain away. The fix that lasts a lifetime and makes them strong and resilient is to allow them to feel all their feelings, even the dark ones. We must tell them that it is okay to feel sad and empower them to understand those feelings, so that they may never allow them to be the ball and chain that they so often are.
- Young children feel their feelings so deeply and what may seem trivial to us as adults rages like a war within them. This is where we must be conscious enough to put ourselves aside for a moment and meet them where they are.
- In all circumstances we must believe in our children, that no matter how bad they feel, they will come out the other end a warrior. To trust and believe in their strength and power to handle whatever life throws at them is a gift we must give them.
Life is not always easy. At the end of the day only they can rise up in their own lives and not only handle it, but thrive as a result of it. If you want to know what you CAN do, then embrace the following things;
- Be a conscious parent; understand what is true for yourself and for your family. Make your decisions based on what will truly serve.
- Meet your children where they are at in every moment, be there for them no matter what and show them that you believe and trust in their strength. It is in the most difficult parenting moments that we must truly see our children for all that they are.
- Avoid micromanaging your children; step out of the way and give them the freedom to grow, even when it’s difficult.
- Remember, just as the storm blows over, these moments too, will pass.
Yes, parenting is not for the faint hearted!!!