Friday, July 12, 2024
The Parents' Voice

Sending your heart out into the world

“When you send your child out in the world it’s like your wearing your heart on your sleeve”, a friend once said this to me about her child and it has always resonated heavily with me. It’s so true.
Once your child is past babyhood life dictates that we are separated from each other during the day. Whether it’s leaving them at daycare out of a need to provide for your family or at school to begin their lifelong journey of education we begin to be separate from them. Often this goes very well, our children make friends, learn new things and excel in new surroundings and adventures. No matter how wonderful the experience they are living there is almost always small little moments that, for multiple reasons, they are not happy. It could be the dreaded drop off tears, the feeling of being left out of a friend group, difficulty making friends or so many other reasons. This is what pulls at our parent hearts – this is wearing our heart on our sleeve.
No matter how much we support and love our child they still have to experience unpleasant things, probably daily. Does it make us ache for them? Absolutely. Do we want to take away all the negative experiences they go through? Absolutely. Is that going to help your child grow into a resilient human? Probably not. How then do we help them get through the hurt?
Ponder this question – do we experience unpleasant things as adults? Absolutely, probably daily. Do we have to keep moving through those moments? Yup! So instead of taking away all the unpleasant moments for our children we have to help guide them through to the other side. These turn into teachable moments. After some research here are some strategies to help our children cope with sadness:
Listen to your child. Hear them out, sometimes the best medicine is feeling heard and having our feelings validated. When our school age child comes home to say that their friends played soccer today and didn’t include them, listen to them. Help them find other ways to connect with their friends, help them find other friends to play with. Help them nurse the feeling of sadness by explaining that this happens and everyday is a new day.
Make home the safe space. Make your home the safe, comforting place for your child. Be there for your child to see refuge. Spend quality time with them.
Find healthy coping strategies. When your child is experiencing sadness help them go towards what makes them happy. If they don’t yet know what makes them happy, help them discover it.
Get to the bottom of what is making them sad. Chances are whatever has your child sad will be short lived, but it does go back to the first point – listen to your child to be sure that if it is something serious you can help them. Seek help when it’s needed.
It is important to let our children experience sadness sometimes; as I stated previously it is important the we teach our children how to cope through the sadness because sadness is a part of life.

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