On Sadness, Hope, and Raising Resilient Children

On Sadness, Hope, and Raising Resilient Children

It’s been said that having a child is similar to having your heart walk around outside of your body, and never is this more true than when your child is experiencing deep sadness, heartache, or loss. 

Difficulty, failure, and grief are a guaranteed part of life, so I believe it’s vitally important for our children to learn that they can be sad, even to the very depth of their soul, and that in time, they can be okay again.  In order to really believe this though, they need to have had experiences along the way that help them build their “resiliency muscles”.   

When they are little this looks like separating at preschool (sometimes even through lots of tears), not getting the toy they really wanted for a holiday, or feeling excluded by friends.  As they grow, it might look like being placed in a different class than their best friend, not making the team they tried out for, moving to a new city, the loss of a friend or family member, breaking up with a significant other, failing a test that they studied hard for, or not getting into a college of their choice.

As parents, we naturally want to protect our children, and we absolutely should when it comes to keeping them safe.  What we can’t do, however, is protect them from every emotional setback or keep them from ever being sad.  Instead, we can support them by offering the tools they need, and being their safe place as they weather the storm. 

When the hard things in life hit (and they always do), the practice of handling the smaller setbacks and difficulties is what reminds them they can muddle through the big stuff, and that they WILL be okay again.

Parenting is never easy, and if you're anything like me, you will have lots of moments where you feel unprepared for the task.  Press through, and know that your relationship with your children, your time together, and your presence in their life, is always a good place to start.

Article By Sarah Bradford and Photo By Shelbi Peralta


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