No one wants to feel discomfort. We want our days to run smoothly, make it to work on time, our kids to have successful days at school, to get to bed on time after we’ve eaten a healthy dinner and had a nice workout earlier in the day. But this doesn’t always happen. We get stuck in traffic, our kids get a fever and have to come home early and we didn’t have time for our workout. Or really anything we had planned. So what gets us through those disappointments or hard days in general? The ability to handle emotional discomfort.
Uncomfortable emotions aren’t desired by anyone but it is our ability to handle them that determines whether we will be successful in life. Kids are no different. They want things to go their way too. They want to have good days at school, make A’s on their assignments and have plenty of friends to play with. They want to have fun things to do after school, their favorite food for dinner and plenty of time to play before bed. But, as you know, most days don’t work out like that. There are many disappointments throughout the day and kids have to deal with the sadness, anger, frustration of each one. And this is not a bad thing, but rather a pretty good one.
The ability to handle emotional discomfort is like working a muscle. If it’s never been used before, it’s going to hurt. Then it will be sore for a while but over time, it will become stronger. It’s like hiring a personal trainer when you’re really out of shape. Those first few sessions are awful but after a few weeks you start feeling stronger.
If things have always gone your way, you won’t have the strength to make it through the hard times. We want kids to learn this early and allow them to be in situations that build their emotional strength. So before you pick up the phone to request a new teacher, take your kid out of the soccer league or call the parent of the kid who said something mean to yours, recognize that these experiences are building emotional muscles in your child. You don’t want things to always work out for your kid. You want there to be some struggle so that when things get really hard, your child will have the strength to make it through.
The best time for kids to fall down is while you’re there to pick them up. Allow them to experience the ups and downs of life, the pains and the sorrows, the bad grades on tests, the fight with friends, the disappointments of not making a team while you can be there to support them. Relish in the struggle and watch your child be better because of it.
Happy Almost Fall Everyone!