Can Pain Be A Positive Force?

emotional pain Jan 12, 2022
Feeling Your Child's Emotional Pain & Being Their Support
Hey, Heidi Rogers here with Today's Three Minute Parenting Playbook. I wanted to talk to you today about the concept of pain, and a bit more of the general sense of what we feel as parents as part of the brief that we think we have. Which is 'to protect our kids from pain and to shield them from pain and to just keep them safe and protect them. And that that's what we're supposed to do. That's the job of being a parent.'

What I would love to gently offer you as a reframe, and a different way of looking at it, what I think is actually our duty and our brief so to speak as parents is actually to change their relationship with pain and teach them that 'you can handle whatever life is going to throw at you. And how I know that is because I'm your mom, or I'm your dad. And I'm standing right here behind you.' Instead of walking down the path and there's pain and suffering coming up ahead. And I see it and I push you off the side, and "We'll go this way." Or I stand in front of you and put you behind me as my child and say, "I'll deal with this for you."

That actually does a disservice to our child because One) what it teaches them is "You can't handle it." And Two) "I can handle it better. So move out of the way let me do this" doesn't really help self esteem and confidence, which you actually can do -- a different way of looking at it and how you can build resilience in the child is being really connected to them. Not standing in front of them, but rather standing behind them or standing alongside them, pointing them towards the pain and saying, "I know you can get through it, because I'm with you and you're not alone. We'll do this together." That's how you change your child's relationship with pain and teach them that they can tolerate it, they can get through it. They can overcome it. 

Glennon Doyle has this really great quote in her book 'Untamed,' where she says to her daughter, "I can see your fear and it's big, but I can see your courage and it's bigger." And that I think is what we want to be teaching our children is that "You can do it. I know you can do it, because I'm with you. And you're not in this alone." I think that that in and of itself, of just telling our children that they're not in this alone, is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other as human beings. But definitely as parents is encouraging our children to face whatever comes their way, not run away from it, not avoid it. Because that just communicates to them, "You can't do it." What we want to be teaching them is that "You can. You can do hard things, because I'm with you. Let's go Let's do it. Are we going to fail? Yeah, probably. Are we gonna get a little bit hurt? Yeah. Are we gonna get scuffed up? Yeah. But we'll get through it. Because we're doing it together."

I think when you shift your relationship with pain, and you shift just your perspective as a parent, that 'my role here is not to just shield, block, protect constantly, so my child never has to be upset or experienced distress,' but rather learn how to tolerate distress within myself in watching my child experience distress. That's a whole skill set. If you can work on that, then you are more equipped to help them do the same and believe and have confidence in themselves. "I can do whatever comes my way. Because I'm strong." Hope that was helpful. 

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