I’M ONLY AS HAPPY AS MY UNHAPPIEST CHILD

Melinda's Headshot June 2013Wow, how many of us mothers feel that way? Don’t we feel self-righteous, sacrificing our happiness for the sake of our children? It sounds so honorable…on the surface. Somehow we think that it proves how much we love our child, but does it? Does your worry provide extra protection from unknown dangers? Could your worry convey that you don’t have confidence in their ability to handle life? If your child is sad, and we become sad too, where can the child go for perspective? Does it help you?

We start off needing to protect our babies, but then we need to learn to stop.

I think where we sometimes go wrong, is not maturing along with our child. We want to shield our children from any pain or consequences of their actions, and end up depriving them from learning the important lessons in .

Don’t get me wrong. We certainly need to set and enforce age appropriate boundaries. I’m not proposing that we just don’t care! On the contrary, expressing compassion while demonstrating love and confidence in their abilities is itself a gift. Our emotional state, or energy if you will, is what sends our deepest beliefs. We pass our fears and anxieties or our strength and confidence with our emotion perhaps more than our words. Think of the gift you would give by role-modeling a confidence in their abilities, a positive faith in the world and their place in it.

The truth, however, this belief starts with how we feel about ourselves. Think of the gift you would give yourself by having a deep belief in your abilities, a positive faith in the world and your place in it. It always starts with ourselves. If, however, we adopt a belief that we can only be as happy as our unhappiest child, then we have negated our own personal strength. Our emotional state becomes tied to the mercurial temperament of a developing child, which is akin to walking on quicksand.

There is a twin sister to this thought, which is “The success or failure of my child is my report card”. We like to pat ourselves on our back when our child does well. The danger, however, is that when they stumble it is our fault. This is another belief that negates our own value and makes us dependent on our children’s action, while putting enormous pressure on our children.

Being a good cheerleader is a healthy place to be. We cheer them on to success, believe they will persevere in the face of adversity, and allow them to take full credit for their achievements and failures. Our ego isn’t involved. Our job is to apply those healthy thoughts to ourselves, to have faith in our own abilities and the world we live in. This is truly a gift that we want to give.

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