Let Them Feel Pain

7 weeks to resilience macdermott method parenting resilience Jan 25, 2020

No well-adjusted parents enjoy seeing their children sad, in pain, or fearful.

Yet …

When your children are experiencing negative emotions, do your best to remain calm. Do your best to receive those emotions and communicate that they are acceptable. Demand of yourself that you step back and allow your children to work through these emotions.

You can and should help them process their pain through conversation, of course, but do not rush to sweep their icky feelings away.

When you rush to do anything—everything!—to make your children feel better …

When you panic and, through language and tone, express that you are also flooded with pain …

When you step in and save the day …

… think about what you inadvertently communicate …

You communicate that pain is an unacceptable condition. You model the frantic need to make pain go away at all costs. You model the behavior of reaching for anything to make negative feelings dissipate.

This is where maladaptive coping techniques—like reaching for drugs, alcohol, or non-discriminate intimacy—can come into play.

No one wants to feel lousy. It’s human nature to try to feel better as soon as possible. But when you communicate that you are desperate to relieve your children of any negative emotion as soon as possible and through any means, you will simultaneously communicate that your children should do the same thing. 

Allow them to sit in their emotions. Allow them to experience pain so that they can learn healthy techniques for navigating the inevitable obstacles that will come their way. 

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