Parenting is Hard


My five year old daughter
got off the school bus today
clearly upset
because her friend
wanted to sit with someone else.
She said, I feel sad, nervous, lonely and angry.
I thought she didn’t love me anymore.
My heart broke for her,
and I told her I had been there before,
and yes it is very painful
to want to sit with someone
who doesn’t want to sit with you.
But I also struggled with
finding a good way
to turn the situation around,
putting her in the seat with a fun new friend
and having her other friend angry
because my daughter didn’t want to sit with her.
My daughter said,
I would never do that,
because she is my best friend and I love her.
My heart broke again for such innocence,
for the elegant simplicity of it.
How many versions of this story
is played out in the “adult” world every day?
Grown up children getting mad
because so and so doesn’t do this and that?
I remembered that
I cannot save my children from pain,
I cannot help them escape suffering.
Pain can be a great teacher.
Suffering can reveal to us
a path of awakening.
If my daughter can understand this
then she won’t have to grow up
getting mad at people
for not giving her every single thing
that she wants.
Please let me hold her heart with tenderness
and validate her feelings.
Please help me to teach her empathy.
Gosh, parenting is hard.

4 responses »

    • Yes indeed. They motivate me to wake up more. I see them watching me and I want so desperately to model healthy behaviors. Ugh. And I end up losing it. Human being.

      • I’ll bet you model healthy behaviours 95% of the time! I also suspect that when we dip into the other 5% it helps our children realise that nobody’s perfect and teaches them compassion, awareness etc.

      • Yes, it’s a good point. The myth of perfection can really put one into a vise. Also the illusion of control. Sometimes I mess up. I lose it. And it is healthy for kids to see that their parents can make mistakes, become very emotional, be vulnerable, be human. The big difference between what I experienced with my parents as a child and what I believe my kids are experiencing with me now is that I talk about it when I’ve lost my temper; my parents never did. I acknowledge that it was probably scary for them and I listen to what they say. I hold them and apologize for scaring them. So I go from rage to tenderness quite quickly. Sometimes I cry because I feel guilty and disappointed…and I’ll tell them how I’m working on managing my temper, how it might take me a long time. It’s a process, like everything else in life. I’m glad that you can empathize. It reminds me that I’m not alone.

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