Do you want to know a little secret for feeling better as a parent? I say this with love:
Stop trying to fix your kids' feelings.
Stop trying to change their circumstances every time they are worried, mad, bored, scared, frustrated or ________.
I know. You think it's your job, right? I'm totally guilty!
Well... I'm here to tell you, when it comes to feelings, you simply can't make them feel better.
You can try, but ultimately it's their thoughts that are going to make them feel better. Remember...our feelings come from our thoughts.
And secondly, by going in to fix things, you are teaching them that it's not OK to feel bad sometimes. And that's just not true.
Real life includes lots of hard stuff. And it's supposed to, If it was always easy, we wouldn't have contrast. Nothing would feel bad, which means nothing would feel good.
So how do we do this?
First, we have to practice feeling hard emotions ourselves.
Have you ever done this? Have you allowed yourself to feel hard emotions without immediately trying to get away from them by eating or scrolling on your phone, or pretending they aren't there? This is where the magic starts.
I'm telling you. Once you get really good at allowing yourself to feel negative emotions like disappointment, grief, boredom, embarrassment, agitation and frustration, you find that it's much easier to allow your kids to do the same.
Why? Because you learn that it's not so bad after all. Our bodies were made to process emotion. They know just what to do and it always feels so much better after we have processed them. And bonus: you don't have the negative effects of the thing you were buffering from them with.
Emotions aren't so scary. They are just emotions.
So next time you're feeling bad, put a name to your emotion, breathe deep, and just allow it. Each time you practice doing this for yourself, you magically gain the ability to coach your kids through their worries and fears without trying to change things.
And in the meantime, they are going to learn how to be emotionally intelligent humans. Their lives won't feel so up and down all the time because they won't be running from something they can never outrun.
This is our work to do. I'm here to admit, it's NOT easy! But man it feels so much better than trying to control everything! Just try it!