Everyone always talks about raising a resilient child but what about being a resilient parent ? Sometimes the hardest part of being a parent is watching your child suffer and feeling that there is nothing you can do about it – suffering by proxy I call it.
We have all been there at the school gates – knowing that things aren’t going well for your child at the moment and hoping, praying that they will have had a good day and will emerge smiling . Its all very well being told that its all normal and that we are ‘ over-reacting’. When emotions are high rational thinking goes out of the window – and we are never so emotional as when it comes to our children. So whilst we know that its just a childish falling out with their friends in our hearts it can feel very painful.
Those of you who are gardeners know that if you pamper seedlings too much and raise them on a sunny windowsill without the slightest hint of a breeze then they will struggle to thrive when you plant them out. They need a cold frame and some wind to get them used to the outside world and too much pampering produces weak plants who wilt at the first cold snap. The same is true of children. The playground can be a jungle but the outside world can be just as harsh so they are learning coping mechanisms while they have the security of coming home to you every evening.
So fight negative expectations in yourself and in them. Unless you can tell the future you dont KNOW the worst is going to happen so expect the best – it may also happen. Particularly in children situations / friendships change very quickly so teach them to look forward to the next happy thing and not to place too much emphasis on what is making them upset now. Ask questions to help them ( and you) get things in perspective ‘How bad is it really ? How long is this likely to last ? How upsetting is this in comparison to all the good things that can happen?
Often the problems that our children go through remind us of problems that we might have had at the same age. This can also bring up the same negative emotions that we had as children – obviously this doesnt help when trying to stay calm and collected when your child is upset. So ask yourself ‘ How upset are they really ? (on a scale on 1-10) and how upset are you ? Is it more your issue than theirs ? If they are not that upset or dont see it as a problem then you can relax and try to let them deal with it.
Never forget behind every successful child is a parent convinced that they are not doing well enough at parenting. Just the fact that you are concerned probably means that you are doing really well and that your child knows for sure it is very loved, and that , in the end, is the most important of all parenting skills .