To embrace the pain or resist the pain?
Without a doubt, to make friends with the struggle, or to run from the struggle, is an extremely powerful question that escapes many parents.
Unfortunately, ignorance of this question costs our children dearly.
In other words, blindness to this question misguides our parenting.
Tragically, we end up robbing our children of essential life lessons.
Inevitably, parenting includes pain.
I am a parent, and I am an Academic Life Coach. I have nearly 1300 hours of coaching with students.
Also, I am a retired teacher with 21 years of classroom experience. Therefore, I have conversed with many parents.
For this reason, I am well aware of 2 situations where parents avoid the pain of their role, and their children pay a high price.
First, we resist the pain of setting healthy boundaries.
Clearly, it hurts to set boundaries. Often, our children push back against them. Also, they protest and complain.
Often, however, we don't embrace this pain; that is, we run from the struggle.
Then, we relax the boundaries. Or, we cancel the consequences altogether because we feel bad.
Subsequently, we rob our children of an essential life-skill; specifically, managing the world's boundaries.
In other words, life has edges, and not knowing where they are sets our children up for a long fall.
Undoubtedly, knowing how to respect boundaries at home translates to following policies at work and obeying the laws of society.
Second, many parents avoid the pain of watching their children fail.
When we clean up their messes for them, we tell ourselves that we are empowering them to succeed.
When we remove obstacles that they should remove themselves, we convince ourselves that we are being attentive and loving.
This is a mistake. After all, children who don't learn from failure learn to avoid it.
They make failure mean that THEY are failures, when in fact, failure is not personal, but REQUIRED for success.
Horribly, they take failure personally, so they don't go for what they really want in life.
They lack confidence, motivation, resilience, and independence.
As a result, they don't realize their dreams, but settle for a life they don't really want.
Fortunately, parents who make friends with the struggle empower their children.
In other words, to embrace the pain of setting boundaries and letting children fail, gives our children space to grow and learn.
Essentially, boundaries allow children to relax; that is, they calm down and behave within them.
On the other hand, not seeing boundaries makes them nervous, and they act out.
Overall, to embrace the pain of parenting is to be a responsible adult; after all, it's YOUR pain.
When we make friends with the struggle, the pain passes through us more quickly.
On other hand, when we resist the pain, or when we run from the struggle, the pain sticks around longer and has power over us.
After all, that which we resist, persists.