Every day, I get an email with this question: What do I do when my child is ____ ? The parent inserts a frustration or problem they are dealing with. It’s always a totally understandable and relatable problem. Believe me, I get it.
The child hurts, the parent hurts more.
And here is my answer: So often, your best step is to simply bear witness. I am sure you can look back on your childhood and remember a time when “no one noticed”. What would have happened if your father or mother, in that very moment, said, “You know what honey, it is hard”? Just those seven words. Those seven words may not have solved the problem or made it all go away, but the memory you are recalling today might be different.
Because you would have been acknowledged.
You will not be able to fix everything for your child. In fact, I often coach parents to do less so their child will learn how to cope more. And it can be a tricky balance to tackle on your own or with your spouse.
Simply begin to bear witness. Start noticing them and you will begin to see a shift. The shift may take time, it may not be overnight. A child’s pain – in the long run – will be lessened if their struggle of who to sit next to at lunch was noticed.
The Parenting Shift is made by relating to the child through shared experience. Not waving a magic wand and making it all go away nor ignoring their “drama” because it’s enough already. A common understanding allows for a shift. Isn’t it so wonderful when your husband comes home and notices the look on your face of exhaustion and kisses you on the forehead. Your experience is noticed.
Our children value the same.
Today, decide to just bear witness. Where do you think you can start? Leave a comment below.