Things don’t always go our way and life isn’t fair – we all know this. Some of us learn this early and some of us can get quite far along in life before experiencing this.
Over recent weeks, both my kids have experienced things that haven’t gone their way – some relatively big, and some inconsequential – but as we all know sometimes it can be the smallest of disappointments that can hit us the hardest.
Emotional issues majoritively, I believe, have to be experienced because that’s how we learn. But for me they are amongst the most challenging situations to parent.
I guess we all remember how the teenage years are rife with heartache and disappointment. Sometimes I try to pre-empt certain situations with hypothetical conversations and “what ifs” but until they experience something first hand, teenagers for the most past are not interested – they breeze through life with an air of invincibility …ah how I miss those days…
So as a parent can we safeguard against emotions like heartache or disappointment? Frustratingly I don’t think so. Even though the primal maternal genes in me really want to.
As a parent there is an innate mechanism that wants to make things all right for our kids – fix things. Is it control? Is it love? Is it our “job”? All of the above, I feel.
Of course, when my kids were little and suffered disappointment – cuddling and few well-chosen words would do the trick. But as they get older the stakes get higher and things just matter more.
The teenage years are hard to navigate; though I want to protect and console often my kids don’t want my help, they don’t want to be told that I can relate or know how they feel, or worse me tell them how they feel.
They want space and a lot of privacy. And, as for talking things through, well that’s what their friends are for, often not their parents.
So sadly, we can’t protect against heartache and disappointment. But I do believe you can nurture certain qualities and character traits: positivity, patience, strength, when to draw a line, becoming more resolute and determined even when it is absolutely the last thing you want to do.
As for what I can do when my help is not wanted …I go with lightening the mood and laughter…for me when my kids are sad making them smile is my number one goal.
Oh and food…I wonder if this is the Indian in me but with teenagers – in any situation – a well stocked fridge or larder goes a long way…
And though there have been times when my kids have been sad, disappointed, heartbroken and down…. they always dust themselves off and get back up, even though sometimes it can take a while.
How much of this really has anything to do with my parenting skills? I don’t know. Maybe I have subliminally had a hand in a small way. I hope so.
But I do know their resilience makes me damn proud. And whilst it is incredibly hard for me – I am learning to wait in the wings in case I am needed, because sometimes as a parent that’s all we can do.