Sunday, April 14, 2013

Watching Your Kids Suffer--the Hardest Part of Parenting

If you're a mother, you know how hard it is to watch your children suffer--to support them without directives, platitudes or judgment. But the worst is to watch and not bail them out--knowing that they need their suffering--it's how they learn and grow.

As a therapist, I am used to watching people suffer. Thank God, I know how important it is, how people need their pain, how they don't need platitudes or bailing out.

Thank God, also, that I have been over this road, have spent my own time in similar pain. And even, thank God, I don't have the finances to bail my daughter out. Because it would be so much harder not to, if I could.

But then she would miss the lesson of dependence on God, the miracles He has worked, the experience of His faithfulness in caring for her because she trusts. And yes, swallows her pride and does the hard work of asking for help.

Help that she feels horrible asking for, but I don't, because when I asked I was denied.

I had a college degree. Never mind that I had a toddler I was determined to stay home with. And I did. We scrimped, no coffees, no eating out, no prepared food, no manicures and pedicures. There were a lot of things we went without. But it was one of the happiest times of my life (after getting over the loss and failure.)

We lived in God's smile of approval. I doubt she was conscious of it, but I was. And she is now.

I still can hardly believe that she is going over the same ground I did.

I shouldn't be surprised I see it all the time--generations repeating what the generation before did.
But I didn't think that would be her. She had such a good head on her shoulders.

It's the emotions that get us--and not knowing ourselves.

She finally realized that her husband's anger came from letting her define him. Sadly she had mothered him. She faced it, painful though it was, and felt better.

Going through the pain of her father's "abandonment" and all the lies built around it has been hard but very healing. Thank God again. This time that I have learned some tools and skills to facilitate healing.

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