A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Going through the hard stuff - article

I submitted this article for publication in a small local magazine that has published several other articles of mine, and I really wanted to post it here.  Some days my topics for submission really fall from real life, from moments in time that are very meaningful - unlike tonight where I watched my toddlers attempt to (badly) sing along with the X Factor.  It was hysterical, but probably only to a besotted mama!  I thought I would put this out on my blog and see what you thought.  (Disclaimer:  Nothing horrible is going on, everyone is good, life is just life, and kids get to learn to deal with unpleasant situations.)

Going Through the Hard Stuff
By Christy Oswald

I honestly think, as a parent, one of the things I have struggled with the most over the years, is watching my children work through difficult situations. Whether it was the unkindness of a friend, the interactions of toddlers, the drama of preteens and teens, it really doesn't matter. We watch our children struggle with the harshness of life, and I find that it hurts ME a great deal.

It is very hard to not step in and react in those situations. I really WANT to. Honestly, I could arrange or fix the situation, take it out of my child's hands, and make SURE my kid simply did NOT have to deal with the ugliness of life.

And, that would be a colossal mistake.

I so want to protect my child, shield him/her from any hurt or discomfort, but honestly, they need to learn to deal with what is sometimes the unkind reality of life. Better that they learn to deal with it while I am close by to lend a listening ear, some advice or direction and certainly some love and support. Oh, but the agony of watching it happen and not just MAKING IT STOP!!!!!

So, I want to encourage you, one parent to another: be there for your child, support your child, but let them find their way through this maze. I always think of it as similar to how we support a young tree. That young sapling is supported by ground wires and all to help it through those winds of the first winter and year. As it strengthens, it is better able to support itself and stay strong, and so we can lessen the support it gets. Eventually, it is a strong tree, that needs no support to withstand the winds of life. Our children are the same way. We need to give support, without taking away their ability to work through and withstand the storms of life. And sometimes that means, loving them as they learn to deal with difficult people and difficult situations. But with each experience they will grow stronger and have more in their toolbag to use to deal with the challenges of life. If we were to always step in, to always just fix it, they would never develop that ability. And they need it. They need to learn to manage those things within the loving support of our family. It is a balancing act, and one that changes as our children age, and that is honestly different from child to child. Follow your gut, think of how you can help them learn to deal with difficult situations, because odds are, eventually, they will have difficult coworkers, bosses, relationships, neighbors, something will happen. They need the tools to be able to manage in these situations. You are aiming to give them the skills for life, not just to get through today.

But, oh, how hard it can be when we want to protect our child from all the hurts and discomforts of life. I get it, I really, really, really do. So, consider this a hug from me to you, as we walk our children through the process of growing up and becoming mature, responsible, caring adults!!!

Christy Oswald is a writer, an animal lover, and a mom to ten. At this point, she has a child in every age range, and some days has seen more than she would wish for. She has been known to sit on her hands and bit her tongue in order to not step in where she shouldn't, and allow her children to work through situations. She probably has the scars to prove it!

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

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