As a parent, I want to fix things when my kids are hurting.
I have to remind myself that I want them to go through hard times.
Even when things aren’t fair.
Especially when things aren’t fair.
It’s the times of challenge that breed confidence. You only create confidence by going through something difficult… going through the fire and getting to the other side.
It was that way when your child learned to walk. You didn’t watch him try to walk the first time and when he fell say,
“Well, I guess this one wasn’t a walker. We’ll just carry him the rest of his life so he doesn’t fall again.”
No, you clapped. You squealed. You took pictures.
There is room to be a cheerleader in all of life’s challenges.
You don’t need to squeal when they are teens. I have found a more “cool” way to cheerlead.
I try something like, “Wow. That situation really does suck. But you handled it really well.”
I know I can fix things for my kids.
But sometimes fixing is really breaking.
Setting the table/getting dinner ready
Getting on the bus/in the car for school
Talking with different members of the family
Where they normally sprawl
Places they like to go
With their best friend(s)
Bedtime (if you are still awake)
Take photos of small things (zoom in) like:
Shoes/cleats with globs of soil/worn dance shoes
Anything they are known for (a smile, a look, twirling hair, dirty socks, etc.)
This list is just a starting point. Have your camera handy, and shoot away!
The holidays are full of uncomfortable situations.
Take family gatherings. Please. (Cue rim shot.)
If you choose to see your loved ones even though it puts you face to face with family members you’d rather not see, try Martha Beck’s Dysfunctional Family Bingo.
Here’s how it works:
You make a bingo card much like traditional ones. But instead of letters and numbers, you use situations.
Situations you would rather avoid.
Mom criticizes my hair
Uncle Jim touches me inappropriately
Angie’s family ignores me
Suzie brags about her house in Boca
Dad gets drunk and picks a fight
Ann is passive aggressive
Everyone gets a present except me
You get the idea.
You check each one off until you complete an entire row or column.
Once you choose to be in a situation that makes you cringe, why not make it less painful?
Change your thoughts from painful to gleeful.
It’s a major reframe.
You may actually be rooting for Grandpa to suck his teeth after dinner if it means you win.