As a therapist specializing in child and adolescent matters, I spend a lot of time reading about fresh research, new techniques, and what I like to call “lessons learned”, or the tried and true wisdom from other professionals. Kiddos come see me usually once a week and we either talk or play (play therapy) and we work on things through trust, connection, and skill building. I love what I do, always have, and I imagine, always will.
Did I also mention that I am a mother? Yep,… two beautiful children and one soon-to-be bright and strong step-daughter. I love having children but don’t get me wrong, it is hard work – very hard work. As parents we walk a very fine line. We are challenged to find teaching moments in good and bad times. We try to protect our kids from the dangers and pitfalls of life while also arming them with the skills and lessons needed to thrive and grow. Parents have to determine when it is time to hold on, and when it is time to let them fly.
I recently came across the quote below. After reading it, my initial response was from the lens of a therapist, “yep, absolutely, makes perfect sense.” Then I read the quote from the lens of a parent and I thought of my son struggling with a difficult friend or my step-daughter struggling with a class in school and I recalled how hard it is to watch those we love struggle and how easy it would be for me to “rescue” them and make it all go away – or at least that specific situation go away. But then I wondered “What happens when the next challenge comes, or the next one”?
Because there will be many challenges our kiddos face and unless we have taught them the skills and built the confidence to overcome those struggles, they will learn to look to others – their parents, their spouse, their [fill in the blank] to solve their problems rather than address them themselves.
As I say this, I send out a reminder of that fine line, of course we are not going to force our child to face something like abuse, neglect, bulling, etc. alone, those aren’t the challenges I am speaking to here. The challenges I speak to are the life lessons our kiddos need to know about money, difficult people, staying the course, and/or keeping commitments. Trust me, I get it, it’s hard and I struggle too but the return on investment is more than worth it.