I talked to a friend yesterday. Her vulnerability and willingness to share pieces of her story with me made me feel less alone. I don’t ever take for granted when someone trusts me enough to let me step into their world.
And so it is that I have the struggles of parenting are on my mind tonight.
Parenting is radically hard for so many reasons. The reason that’s currently crowding my thoughts: how parenting exposes the tender parts of our hearts that we carried out of childhood with us.
There are parts of our hearts that are a bit battered and bruised. These are the parts of our hearts that still sting with insecurity when we bear witness to our own children suffering in similar ways. They ignite passion in us, make us want to protect, and make us question everything.
We sit with questions like: Are we projecting? Are we doing enough to support? Do I rescue them so they don’t hurt or allow them to learn on their own like I did…because the lesson has value? How do I make it better? Did I do something wrong to put them in the same position?
I don’t have all the answers to these questions…but rest assured you are not alone.
When these questions leave me feeling helpless, by default I hear my my dads voice in my head, “just do something”.
My “just do something” tips for when our kids are struggling are as follow:
1. Pray and gain perspective.
2. Keep the lines of communication open with your child. Share your (age-appropriate) experiences to teach.
3. Seek to understand. Then, seek to influence rather than control.
4. Remind your child of their value and worth. (Real life, specific examples)
5. Speak words of affirmation and acceptance to, and about, your child.
6. Model compassion and encourage self-compassion.
7. Be for them, who you needed as a child.
8. Reach out for help if you need it.