We have a tough job as parents to both comfort and empower our children. Of course we want to help when they are upset, comfort them and help them understand that they are heard and loved. What hurts though, is also fulfilling the other portion of our job, which is preparation. They have got to learn how to deal with disappointment, especially disappointment in themselves. All too often we see something that hurts our kids or lowers their self-esteem. It hurts us too. Out of that hurt we have this strong impulse to “make it all go away”. It is how we “make it all go away” though, that is so pivotal. If we shelter our kids from failure we are setting them up for long-term challenges.
The best plan of action is to be a person of action. When you see your kids have those set-backs, first comfort, and then move into action. You failed a test – ok, what went wrong? What can you do differently? Do we need to discuss this with someone else? Or, wow, that kid on the bus was really mean to you – how can I help? Do we need to practice ignoring? Or do we need to get another adult involved?
Let your kids be part of making the plans to move forward. Always give them a growing edge, but with lots of support. At times it may feel so unjust to have to “be the bigger person” when a problem arises, but trust me, being the bigger person pays off in the long run.