My #1

1Every child deserves to someone’s number one. Every child needs to hear they are loved, feel adored, and be given hugs before bed. Every child deserves to have someone read them a bedtime story. Every child wants to hear they are good at something. Every child not only wants these things; they need it. It’s something many of us take for grated. It’s something many of us do for our children without thought.

“You’re my favorite boy in the world. You’re so smart. You’re such a good girl. You are so responsible. I love you…..”

These are things I say to my children every day because I mean it, and they need to hear it. They need to feel it. And, many, many children are not feeling like they are anyone’s number one.

The list of children that I spent time with this week is long. And when I think of a commonalities, there is one depressing theme. Many, if not most, of the children who had angry outbursts, who had a conflict or made a bad choice, or asked to spend time with me are lacking one or both parents. They are abandoned and feel unwanted. Their parents have different priorities.

They’re in jail. They’re on drugs. They have a new boyfriend. I’ve even had children tell me that they have new kids now. They have a new family. How does that make a child feel to have their parent care about something or someone more than them? It leaves a void. They feel incomplete. They feel insecure. And, they are longing for attention.

And, they look for attention wherever they can find it. In PAC (in-school suspension), in conflicts, in rebellion, and even within themselves. I had a boy tell me at the end of the day that “he would never earn a reward from me” when he saw another girl picking her toy from my ‘joy jar’. “I’m stupid and I never do anything right.” This is not how children are supposed to feel when they are nine.

But, when your mom has left you, you rarely see your dad, and you’re scared of your caretaker, you feel lost. When your mom tells you that you won’t be seeing your dad anymore, you feel sad. When your dad is in jail and you haven’t seen him since you were three, you feel disappointed. When your mother chose drugs over you, you feel angry. Children are hurting everywhere.

But, we can’t give up. We have to be the ones to love them. Maybe they aren’t our number one, but we can try to find them a number one. Today I checked in with a friend who is being raised by her aunt and uncle. She’s been with them for years now while some of her other many siblings are living with a drug-addicted mom and other family members. In fact, one of her brothers now attends the same school yet lives with step-mom and father. He was born addicted to drugs and the impact is huge. He is so delayed and almost incapable of functioning in school. Today, he didn’t want to leave his sister when he saw her this morning. Since they don’t live together and hardly see each other, he gets so excited to see her. He became so upset upon her leaving for class that he began screaming, “I want to kill myself” over and over and over again down the hallway. It was a blood-curdling scream. It was so painful to listen to so I cannot imagine how he feels. He’s in first grade.

But, this girl who shares the same mother and doesn’t have a relationship with a different father is doing great. It was her birthday today. And while she was understandably upset by the morning incident, her ‘Big Sister’ from the Big Brothers Big Sister’s program surprised her for her birthday. She’s been matched with this girl since first grade. Her Big Sister comes to eat lunch with her often. She takes her to do fun things outside of school. And, she delivers wonderful, fancy birthday presents to this one girl. She has made her her number one! She even asked her ‘little’ to be in her wedding this winter!

So when there are children who have had bad luck and received the short-end-of-the-stick, we have to find them a number one. A mentor, a school friend, a family member who steps in….someone who will treat them like they are the most important thing in the world. And even if we can’t actually find them a mentor, we make the time we spend with ‘our’ kids meaningful. When I spend time with a child, even if it’s 5 minutes, I really try to make them feel loved. They aren’t always the most loving kids but they can be when we show them how to.

At the end of the day today, I invited a boy who’s been abandoned by his mother to come help me with my kindergarten leadership class. I had to conduct a suicide assessment on him yesterday. But today, he wanted to come with me as I taught the sweet kindergarten students about ‘filling buckets’. He was so well-behaved in this class as he served as my assistant. A boy who is desperate to be loved and is feeling really depressed chose to spend his afternoon explaining to other children how to fill buckets and make other people feel loved.

Fill someone’s bucket today, and make a child feel loved. They all deserve it.

 

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HERO

When you hear the word hero, what do think? What comes to mind? Often children have a vision of a superhero like Batman, or even their favorite pro football player or pop-star. Sure, they have fame and fortune. Maybe they do have super hero powers or a magic that children want to capture.

But, let me tell you about my hero. He’s 11. He’s just faced his fear of needles again and he’s having an MRI under sedation with contrast as we speak. He’s aware that he has something in his head that other friends do not. He’s living with a brain tumor.

So while his sister and friends were waking at 7 to go to school ,  we arrived at the hospital at 6 am for the first appointment. After the routine paperwork, we have to wait in the same radiology waiting room where Brody was first diagnosed, an eerie feeling to say the least. He gets the numbing cream and then we wait. There was an emergency MRI so we wait a little longer, me imagining why that poor child that bumped us is in there.

We get into the room after 7 to check blood pressure and get the IV. We wait some more. Then comes the dreaded time when we know he’s going under. Brody doesn’t say a word but his heart is racing as we hold his hand and tell him it’s going to ok. The hospital bed waits in the hall right outside the MRI machine that’s been buzzing from the last patient.

Brody sheds no tears, takes some deep breathes and quickly closes his eyes. It’s a scary feeling every time, to watch your child’s eyes robotically close before you. It’s a harsh reminder of a surgery no child or parent ever wants to face. It’s flashbacks and unknowns. It’s letting go.

He will awake and he knows that they are checking for regrowth. He’s old enough to be aware, and knows the magnitude of what regrowth means.

Yet, he faces every day like an ordinary boy while also wearing his super powers inside. He chooses to have an amazing attitude and live like he’s any other boy, knowing he still has a growth inside his brain. That amazes me every day.

A hero is someone who inspires. A hero helps others…Brody helps me stay strong, have faith, and be brave when I don’t want to be. A hero is someone who helps others. He helps me see the light every day as he soars through life with soaring colors.

Keep the faith, little hero. You sure help me to!

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure

The Hamilton’s nightly dinner questions resumed this evening. We take turns picking a number at random. After “if you could be any animal, what would it be?” and “if you could choose another name for yourself, what would it be and why?”, we ended on a deep question:

 “What is God’s greatest creation?” 

Usually, this is when the boys opt out! (Bo always does!) Brody was first to speak tonight, though, and replied with “brain tumors”.

Hmmm? With 5th grade has come some sarcasm so we assumed he was being facetious. However, I asked him what he meant. He proceeded to tell us that having a brain tumor was really a gift. (I’m not making this up!)

He said it was fun getting all the gifts in the hospital and he also got a giant chocolate bunny on Easter. He said that it was actually “kind of fun.”

What I remember was anything but fun! And, I would call brain tumors the antithesis of a gift. Hospitals give me the creeps, and that was the hardest time of my entire life. So, a “gift”? That’s a bold statement.

Today, on a day that SO many friends came out to pay it forward at Duck Doughnuts, we are trying to help all pediatric brain tumor patients feel like their life is a gift.

Because life really is a gift. Just a few minutes ago while tucking in my warrior,  I asked him to tell me more about what he meant. (I promise this is what he said without promting and it blew me away!:)

It really is like a gift. (Why?, I asked.) It makes me unique and special. I’ve gone through something most people haven’t. And, I’ve gotten on the news and get to do special things. It’s a gift that I came out of it ok.

Now, either hes saying these things because he truly believes them (which astounds me) or hes saying this because he wants to think positively and wants to believe these things (which also astounds me). Either way, yes, thats a gift if you believe it. It’s just the way you choose to look at it.

Thank you, God, for your “greatest creation”.

One foot in front of the other

I was talking to a friend about stress yesterday, and am sitting here thinking about the stressed out kids I saw today. We all have stress but some just have more than others. It’s not fair. Life can be hard. And, sometimes we cannot simply fix the problem.

Band aids don’t work. And, tomorrow may feel the same.

broken-heart

Whether it be our own child or our student, there are some problems that just cannot be solved. A child with cancer. A brain tumor. An abandoned child. A child removed from their home. An absent father. An abusive mother. These are real problems…that may not be fixed.

When we have these real curve balls, I told my friend that sometimes all you can do is put one in front of the other. Literally, and figuratively.

When we are hurting, we can only control so much. We might be sad, scared, disappointed, hurt, let-down, anxious, or angry. But, we CAN march on.

We can walk, moving away from our worries, knowing that we can control our actions. We can walk allowing our mind a minute to rest and focus on our movement. Sports, running, dancing, yoga, or just walking….we move forward.

Many and most days, I see children who can barely stay in their own skin. Sometimes the reality is painful and they can barely stand being. You see their skin crawling! 

When it feels like too much, when things are spinning, just walk. Move forward instead of staying stagnant.

One foot in front of the other. Fresh air. Move. Stretch. Breathe. One step at a time. Time will move on.

Namaste.

 

Room to grow

Time to reflect and examine what’s going on with our kids. Another school year has come to a close, riddled with unexpected twists and turns. Growing pains are always to be expected. So, is this year any different?

  • Stressed, overworked teachers
  • Negligent caregivers, and over-involved parents
  • Excess extracurriculars and lack of quality time
  • Suicide
  • Social media

These are just a few persistent, troubling themes in American schools. As usual, there have been friendship problems, tragedies, and too much information in too little time. But, what sticks out in 2017 as impacting our young children most? When I think back on this fast school year, many issues are avoidable.

More and more continues to be demanded of our public school teachers and this stress does trickle down to students. Yet, many teachers have accepted that the list requirements will always be growing and changing. Teachers seem less stressed than they were a couple years ago when the new evaluation system was first implemented. Yet, teachers seem no more happy. It’s hard work and more work with no more money! Yet, there are so many great teachers willing to persevere because they believe in children and shaping their future.

Sometimes these are the only consistently positive role models our children have. More and more, children are not experiencing the 2-parent, traditional home. The model of a family continues to shift, whether it be living with a family friend, to having multiple homes, or being raised by a grandparent. This is impacting our children’s resiliency and confidence. Some children expect the unexpected at an early age making it difficult to concentrate on being a student and stress-free kid.

Divorce continues to be an issue that many young children face. And, it’s not easy. Sometimes it takes years for children to accept, if they ever do. Changes in schedules and bouncing from different homes is challenging even if it’s the best decision for the parents. Kids miss their mom or dad when they aren’t with them. Going for months on end without seeing a parents hurts.

Grandparents as caregivers present another set of challenges, as their role as a guardian is not the same dynamic as a parent. Many times, they are juggling working and raising their grandchildren, while also dealing with whatever factors got the children there to begin with. It’s a lot of pressure and these children don’t always get the discipline and consistency they need. They may get away with more and less is expected from them as many times the grandparents feel sorry for them. Or, the grandparent is too tired to fight the fight. Many children aren’t held to same expectations as their peers when it comes to household or school responsibilities. And, they aren’t getting the help they need with their school work at home either. Academics have changed and become more rigorous. And, many times parents and grandparents don’t know how to help them. They weren’t taught the same way, or they don’t remember. So, many kids don’t do their homework. They’d rather stick them on a device to pacify.

On the other hand, there continue to be the parents who micromanage every move their child makes. Every little quiz must be an A and the teacher is contacted if their child’s grade drops to a B. Teachers find this type of parent just as frustrating. The entitled parent expects ongoing communication if their child has a bad day; this parent wants to monitor every move. This child is not allowed to have a bad day, and if they do, there has to be a reason that must be fixed immediately. This kid deserves to be the best because they are the smartest, of course.

For all kids, of all races and socioeconomic status, electronic devices seemed to cause the most trouble in 2016/17. We still haven’t figured out balance and how to regulate our kids. And, there are more and more opportunities for children of all socioeconomic levels to get online. Whether it be texting or messaging, being sucked into YouTube, or just the simple games like Roadblock, electronics are seriously impacting our children. Many times, parents are unaware or checked out from regulating these devices. This school year has been the year of hurt feelings over what started out as a simple message or text. Middle-class girls whose parents value education and are involved are NOT involved in monitoring this process. Many misunderstandings and cyberbullying could have been avoided.

Children in elementary (not to mention even middle and high school) are just too young to practice mindful online communication and react appropriately on their own. It’s complicating their lives and spilling into their school day too! It’s impacting their self-image and really causing damage to their outlook on whom they can trust, believing they aren’t good enough. Kids in elementary are too young to explore online without an adult. The world of electronics can be isolating and addictive.

Sadly, this has been the year of suicide. 13 Reasons Why sparked the conversation but kids were already hurting. Young kids are hurting. It’s surprising that so many elementary age children are already aware of what suicide is and some are even talking about doing it. That’s been the most difficult part of this school year, knowing that children the age of my own son are contemplating dying and living with feelings of hopelessness.

Most are not serious about completing the act, but many are already causing self-harm. There are many red flags. And when a child in elementary school is already considering this as their coping strategy, we should be alarmed. They don’t think they are smart. No one likes them. Their parents don’t care. I’ve heard it all. I’ve witnessed this myself after calling parents and encountering their lack of alarm or immediate attention. These kids are crying out and many parents aren’t taking them seriously.

Then, there were 3 high school students at Knoxville’s most affluent high school who did complete this act. We must take early warning signs seriously. It seriously disturbs me when parents don’t listen, take the next steps, or just don’t believe their children. Mental illness or instability, at the very least, is going undiagnosed and without care.

Parents aren’t taking the time. Parents are taking time buying them new stuff, micromanaging their school work, and running them to practices. But, parents aren’t really taking the time to connect, like truly connect. Parents need to ask questions and take time to listen, in the car, before meals, at bed. Many young children feel disconnected from their parents. Everyone is busy and many times, children are home alone or just feel alone. This has become way more acceptable in all circles. Working parents or just busy families are not taking the time to be with their kids.

There’s the 7-year-old who gets off the bus by himself and spends a couple hours alone while mom is still at work. And, there’s also the affluent parent who’s rushing off to a multiple practices and has their child involved in every possible extracurricular. Quality time is becoming scarce and parents don’t know their children as well. Instead of spending time together, more parents are signing their kids up for structured activities or sports where the family is apart.

There seems to be a push towards valuing education in America. We sure are raising the academic standards but why do we expect all children fit this mold? There’s pressure to achieve and watch those graphs go up. Maybe we are pressuring our children in developmentally inappropriate ways, however. With our youth, we should be spending the most time developing a sense of self, understanding and relating to others, and forming friendships. These are the life skills that lead to a fulfilling life.

Looking forward to this summer, we need to get outside more. We need to sit down and talk with (not to) our kids. We need to explore, adventure, read, play, and talk more. We need to stress less and laugh more. We need to slow down! We need to take time for friends and leave our devices alone. We need to have more fun!

Thanks for listening and being the kind of parent who already lives with perspective and love! Those of you who read this are the ones who are raising respectful, well-balanced, and creative kids! Keep on rocking in the free world! ego.jpg

The Winning Loser

Last night was Knox County’s Elite track meet covering all of Knox county. Kids must first place in the top 4 in the first, smaller meet to qualify. Over 800 kids attended last night’s meet, including around 20 kids from our little, ole’ school, which is pretty impressive. Surprisingly, Brody was one of those!

Most wouldn’t guess that the boy with a less-than-athletic body and little, white legs would be a sprinter but he is, the 100. Last year, he placed first in the regional meet, which was shocking. So this year, he went into the first meet, a couple of weeks ago with too much confidence.

I wasn’t able to attend but I kept my phone close and had Bo to give me updates and even a video of the race. Going into the first race, my husband said he was cocky, saying he’d beat these kids last year and he felt certain he would again. Much to his surprise, he placed 3rd in the first race. Apparently, he spent the next couple hours waiting for the final race sulking. He sat without hanging out with his friends or talking, as he was just sure he would win. His sweet PE coach even noticed and asked him if he was ok.

After placing 4th in the second race, he was less than enthused and made complaints later that night about why he should have had a faster time in the first race. Basically, he pouted that he placed 4th when I was celebrating. He still had qualified for the finals and he was (is) one of the fastest 4th grade boys in Knox county. But, he was seeing the glass as half-empty and didn’t even want to go to the Elite meet because “what’s the point?”.

Let me pause to note that this blog isn’t meant to brag about my kid, although I am proud. Wait for the lesson…….-

Like last year, we told him that it was his choice to compete BUT this was a privilege just to make the track team, and especially to advance on. Bo explained that he was robbing another boy’s opportunity and filling a slot that another boy may have wanted; the fifth place may have really wanted to go yet only the top 4 qualify. Plus, I added, even if he’s comes in the last, that’s still 16th of ALL KNOX county’s 10-year-old boys. That alone is something to celebrate. So, after some debate and convincing, he flatly said, “I’ll do it”.

He didn’t want to practice. He didn’t talk or think a lot about it, as he had prior to the first meet when he cried when it was postponed. He was doing it and not super excited because he knew he wouldn’t win. So, last night with a packed stadium and over 800 kids, he went to that track again. He didn’t seem super nervous nor excited.

Drumroll…… (No, he did not win! 🙂 ) But, he placed 4th in his heat, out of 8. It was a good race with his best time of 15.28. He seemed happy, but quiet. No complaining or arguing why he should have placed higher. No tears. No boasting as we waited another hour and half to hear the results for who made it to the finals. We knew it would be close, as only the top 8 times make it.

He placed 9th, with one hundredth of a second behind the next qualifying boy! We/ he thought he would have qualified so there was a twinge of disappointment when his name was not announced over the loud speaker. But, this time he briefly looked down and then looked right back up. No tears and even smiled back at me when I told him it was ok. That’s winning.

That’s proof that we can teach our children humility and good sportsmanship. And, I say this as a parent of a child that has NOT been a good sport lately. I say this because he yells, argues, or pouts when his sister scores a goal on him in a casual game of soccer or when his dad beats him in a friendly game of basketball. I say this because he couldn’t accept not being first a couple weeks ago.

I say this because kids can learn, and so can adults. I say this because we all (including me) are so caught up in being the best that we lose sight of the race and big picture. Humility is a hard lesson. So, we have to have these conversations. We have to explain what being a good sport looks like. Too many times, parents just accept their children’s bad attitude because they’re just competitive. Or, parents complain and whine along with them that the referee was wrong, or they deserved to win. It’s easy to do.

But, that doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make for a humble, kind human when we only accept winning. Would I have liked for Brody to make the finals? Sure. Was he a little disappointed? Sure. But, am I more proud that he walked away without tears or complaints this time? Yes. That’s winning. That’s sportsmanship.

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sportsmanship

#chooseyourcharacter

#proudbecauseofprogress

#winningisyourattitude

 

Reunion

I had the nicest surprise reunion at the post office this morning. Upon entering the door, I was greeted by a dear former student. This charasmatic boy moved to America in 3rd grade. He instantly made friends with his winning smile, positive attitude, and excitment for learning.

He was the only Hispanic child in a new-student, ESL friendship group  (but I think I’m the only one who noticed this)! The other kids, refugees, were all from the Middle East. But, the language and the cultural barriers didn’t stop this amazing group from quickly bonding. I was fortunate to be able to spend time with this funny crew for 30 minutes once a week. What wonderful memories I have from our time together, despite the mediating I sometimes had to do. But, this short, bright-eyed boy, A., got along with everyone!

And based on the greeting I got today from this middle school boy, I’d say he must have good memories too. This cute boy ran up as soon as our eyes met and he gave me a BIG hug. He immediately asked me how Pond Gap, his Alma matter was. He was surprised when I told him I wasn’t there anymore but he continued to chat about being “excited about Tcaps coming up”. (Who is this kid?! A hug from the middle school boy and he’s excited about school?!) He’s playing soccer and loves school. What a great kid, destined to do great things.

When he was at Pond Gap, this same group did the talent show when they sang THAT’S WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL! A.was the lead singer that stole eveyone’s hearts with his winning dance moves! They are beauty to me.

The appreciation and excitement this kid has for living is contagious. One would never know he moved from Columbia just a couple years back as he quickly tested out of ESL class. He is outstanding, and it made my day to see he’s still got his glow. I think he kind of shared it with me today.

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”- BUDDHA

This quote sits by my bedside. It was the card from the first bouquet of flowers that Bo ever sent me. And, it’s so true. Happy to have crossed paths with A. today. He came to give me one more hig before I left; he made my day just a little brighter!

#thisismyAmerica

#immigrantsandrefugeeswelcomehere

#awesomekids

“I think my brain tumor is going to grow back”…..

“I think my brain tumor is going to grow back.” These words are still ringing in my ears since a casual dinner conversation this week. And although I don’t love this new norm, this is the norm. This is reality. And, this is also ok.

What prompted this statement was our dinner-question prompts. The kids have loved drawing a question each evening as we sit down together. It’s especially fun because there are 2 little pieces of paper that have a hidden surprise! If you get the smiley face :), you automatically get a piece of candy after dinner. So while I’d like to think they love these questions because they lead to self-reflection and great conversation, I think Brody just wants a chance at candy without eating all his veggies!

The questions, some of which I borrowed and some of which I created, range from, “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?, What’s your happiest day?, to What’s a worry you have?”. I don’t even remember what Monday’s question was but Brody gave this casual statement. Almost 2 years later, it still makes me do a double take….(My son has a brain tumor?!)

He proceeded to put his hypothesis into statistical terms. (Ms. Hulsey would be so proud!) He said he was actually 75/ 25% that it would grow back. This was a shocking statement to me, which of course prompted more questions like ‘Why? Are you having symptoms you’re not telling us about? Why do you think that?…..”

He then changed his percentage rate to 25/75. Ok, I thought, I’ll take that one. That was one I can handle. And until a couple days later, I was still holding onto these statements like they are the truth. Like Brody is the neurologist telling me what’s going to happen. Then, I realized something even better.

He’s just telling me his fears. He very rarely talks about being scared or worried of something like this happening, although we know there’s always a chance it could. He often reflects on his experiences with the brain surgery but not daily, or even weekly. It’s such a blessing that he’s leading a better-than-normal life and doesn’t have to worry about it daily.

Now, I’ve realized that him verbalizing such a serious thing is him expressing that he sometimes is scared and recognizes that it could happen. Later in bed, we cuddled and I told him how I deal with that worry. I always choose to think positively. I believe good things will happen. I pray about it. I talk about it. I write about it! And, I look at how healthy he is and believe, like really believe, that he’s ok. He hugged me close and went straight to sleep.

Basically, I don’t think he’s too worried or been thinking about it daily like I have. I do think he’s acting pragmatic when he says it could happen. And , that’s ok. Like I’ve told him, a lot of things could happen. Why live in the could!? Live in the present.

So, another lesson learned as a parent. We do way more worrying than our children. Often times, it’s unnecessary and unhelpful. And, when our children do express a fear, rational or not, it’s ok. It could be a minor anxiety or a real concern. It gives us a chance to talk about it, which will only lessen the fear. I’m going to keep the dinner questions coming and see what comes up. In the meantime, I’ll keep savoring and appreciating every day I get. It is a gift!

#braintumorsurvivor #warrior

 

Why we don’t need happy kids

The old cliché is that we just want our kids to be happy. Ideally, they find their passion and live happily ever after. Go to school, easily make good grades, go to college, get a secure job, buy a house, get married, and have some children. The timeline was predictable and easily attainable for most.

But, long gone are the days of silver spoons and white picket fences. No more do we have the ‘typical’ family. The days of staying with the same company or career for a lifetime are over. And, the probability that a student can automatically get good grades by paying attention in class are low.

Times have changed, folks. Life is stressful in the land of the free. Changing social, political, and economic norms makes the idea of success more important now than ever. The pressures are high, and dysfunctional. So, do we just want our kids to be happy anymore or do we want more?

We need our kids to get a job and pay their own bills one day! But, there’s more. I want my children to be good citizens, give back, live fully, be confident in who they are, make their own path towards finding peace, AND be happy. I want them to be successful. And, to become successful, you might have to hurdle upsets, disappointments, setbacks, and heartbreak. To become successful, you may be unhappy at times. So, I want to rewrite the script and expect that to become happy, one must experience unhappiness.

In this society, we are taught that we should feel and look happy. And, if you don’t, you have to fix it and fix it fast. Take a pill. Don’t cry. Go on a diet. Go shopping.  But, please stay happy. This idea is permeating our society yet leaving us less happy and satisfied.

Now, approaching the ripe age of 4o, I realize and am accepting that it’s not realistic to be happy all the time and that’s ok. Being happy doesn’t define me because, like in the movie Inside Out, it takes a whole team of emotions to experience joy. Joy and happiness are not always front and center. It is normal to feel angry, disappointed, scared, hurt, or even sad sometimes. It’s time we teach our kids this too.

Instead of providing hours of entertainment with outings and time at home filled with business and stuff, we’d be better off as parents if we let them create their own fun. Or, better yet, let them get a little bored so they accept this feeling is normal. Research is starting to crop up with the benefits of boredom. (click here for list of benefits). Being more imaginative and creative, letting the mind wander, and leaving space for self-reflection are just a few reasons for all of us to be bored.

And, on top of feeling bored, allow them to have those hard feelings too. When we shield our children from feeling down, we are actually setting them up to be unsuccessful! It seems counterintuitive but it’s true. If we want our children to develop an internal locus of control and grit, we let them feel uncomfortable sometimes. We stop rushing into fix things for them and let them squander sometimes. We allow for natural consequences and disappointment. We let them get mad at us!

We need to teach our children to deal with disappointment, and then show them what it takes to push on. And, sometimes they just have to figure that out on their own which is so hard for parents. We hate to see our children struggle and hurt. But, when we don’t teach them that this is normal, they will end up a lot more unhappy in the long run!

Making things too easy and fun may actually create more demanding, less empathetic, and more depressed children and adults. Just look at the rising rates of depression, suicide, and medication in this country. Something is going wrong. Adults don’t know how to cope in a healthy, healing way.

We must teach our children how to get through periods of unhappiness. If we can work through some unpleasant times and feelings, then the reward is feeling satisfied. Instead of shooting for happiness, we will all end up more happy if we feel gratification for dealing with something hard and getting to the other side, even if we weren’t always happy along the way.

So, the next time your child is bored, or upset, or sad, let them be. Allow some space. Let them work through it. Tell them it’s ok to feel this way. Stop fixing and trying to make them happy because sometimes the most successful kids weren’t always happy.

 

 

 

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