The Best Gift You Give Your Kids

 In America

I grew up in a dysfunctional family where there was much loss, chaos and frightening family drama. My parents separated when I was nine; my mother handled the craziness by doing as she was taught– by sweeping everything under the rug. I didn’t learn how to process the pain, confusion and fear; instead I stuffed it down with food, drugs and alcohol.

 
As a I divorced Mom I am doing it completely differently. I don’t pretend everything is fine when it’s not. I don’t believe that I can prevent my kids from feeling pain–nor should I. Pain is part of the human experience. My purpose is to help them process difficult emotions–not try to eliminate them. 
 
If my mother had understood this idea, we would have had open conversations about my brother’s paranoid schizophrenia, my father’s sudden departure, the death of my other brother.
 
In divorce kids may experience a lot of tough stuff. Our attitude makes all the difference in helping them cope: we model how to talk about difficult things and teach that although there are ugly parts in life there are also good parts. We teach compassion—for self and others. They gain confidence in themselves and don’t try and avoid their emotions. If they need to talk to a counselor, they learn that talking with someone is a normal way to deal with difficulties.
 
They become resilient by learning how to manage their emotions, not by avoiding them.
 
The best gift you give your kids is the understanding and trust that you don’t need to fix them because their life path is giving them everything they need to grow into amazing, resilient, unique adults. 

 

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment