When your baby cries out to you it’s an INSTINCT to snatch them out of harm's way. It's gut-wrenching to let your child experience difficulties! Believe me, if there was a way for us to get to my step-son we would have been strongly tempted to consider it.
On a daily basis I talk with parents whose children struggle with daily challenges like getting on the bus or going to gymnastics. There seems to be a rise in young adults who are fearful of driving, talking on the phone, applying for a job. They're frozen in the belief that they don't have the capacity to handle the discomfort they feel during these moments. I can't emphasize enough how much our kids need to experience discomfort in order to believe they have what it takes to face tomorrow's challenges. Until they experience discomfort on a regular basis and learn that they can move through it, avoidance of discomfort will rule their behaviors.
When you rescue your child or step in because they're having difficulty doing something on their own, you are communicating that you don’t believe they actually have what it takes to rise to the challenge.
Refusing to rescue is HARD WORK and it takes GUTS!
Building resilience in your child happens one small struggle at a time. Think of it like a muscle, the more they practice, the better they will become at facing challenges. Start small, pick one and do a few minutes each day. Then ease into greater challenges. Here are some ways you can help your child learn that they can tolerate discomfort:
My step-son came off the plane from Asia with a huge smile on his face and a journal full of insights he would never have gained another way. If your child struggles with accepting uncomfortable events, it might be a good time to start practicing as much as possible. If you feel overwhelmed by your own discomfort when your child struggles or if your child seems stuck it might be helpful to get some support from a therapist.
Your child has what it takes to rise to the challenge. Hold onto that belief, hold your child’s feet to the fire and cheer them on like there's no tomorrow!
Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash
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Hello and welcome! I'm Karin, I'm a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with a private practice in New Brighton, MN serving the Twin Cities metro area, St. Paul and Minneapolis. I specialize in helping struggling kids and overwhelmed adults find relief and live a vibrant life.