Parenting….it's truly a hero's journey.
I was just reminded of this when HS2 attempted to tie on his hakama in preparation for Aikido class. Due to mistakes, he ended up with a garment that was tied rather bizarre…and attempted to fix it himself.
Then he asked me, but as I don't hakamaize, I suggested he call HS1.
HS1 offered an alternative way to tie it (you can tell my life is filled with excitement by now, can't you?), but by then it was too late….
HS2 focused upon his perceived stupidity and ran out of the room to yell at himself in his office.
Drama kings, we haves 'em!
I figured that in this case, letting HS2 work out his frustrations made the most sense. And after 5 minutes, he came back, asked to cuddle, and I told him the following.
"It sure is tough when you get frustrated, right? But did the last 5 minutes of beating yourself up…help you in any way at all?
I don't think so! Remember, HS2, you *have* the ability to succeed within you…but you choose to panic or give up or feel sad instead.
But when you do that, all you're doing is dishonoring your own inner strength. You *can* do this, but you're not giving yourself permission to succeed. Instead, you're focusing on your mistakes and sitting on them and just plain not moving forward. You're letting your fears and frustrations conquer you, you're letting yourself be afraid of facing them.
Now, you tell me that you feel stupid? That's okay, wrong, mind you, but okay. Still though, no matter how much you try, you just cannot *change* the past, you cannot go back and act differently!
And when you keep dwelling on that, you're carrying that big huge load with you to the present. It's like your anger and frustration are stuffed into humongous heavy bags…and you're dragging them around with you instead of letting them go.
So I want you now to imagine the following. Take your anger and unhappiness from your past actions, and stuff 'em into those bags. Carry them now to the curbside…and then….just let them go. That way, you can give yourself permission to try again and this time…succeed."
And that's just what he did.
Well, actually, my sigh is not for him, because he is learning it's *okay* to choose to face his fears and frustrations instead of taking the cowards' way out and whining, poor me!
My sigh is for me, because I'm so spiritually drained by my own personal stupid actions earlier that rising to the occasion required energy I simply did not have…but manufactured quick!
And whenever that happens, I crash and burn.
Except I can't choose to enjoy that right now – I have to take HD1 to swords and HS2 to Aikido.
So like every other MamaBear parent on the face of this planet…I'll just suck it up and continue to be there for the world.
Good news is, this lesson should really stay and help HS2 as he continues to mature, woot!
But to get back to the original point of this post:
To give your children the gift of inner strength, do the following.
- Step 1.) Validate their frustrations.
- Step 2.) Refuse to let them wallow in self-pity.
- Step 3.) Inform them you believe, heart and soul, in their abilities.
- Step 4.) Tell them they are *stronger* than their fears, *stronger* than their frustrations, and they *have* to *choose* to give themselves permission to face everything and try again.
Rinse and repeat as often as needed.
Yes, it's exhausting…but done right and done early, should really help your kids grow beautifully.
And that, of course, can only be described as a Very Good Thing indeed.