An ultimate parenting goal? Raising happy, healthy, thriving kids who are ready to head out into the adulting world and fly.
Note: “Thriving” doesn’t mean they won’t ever encounter bumps in the road or that they won’t ever fall. They will. We all do. Life is messy.
So what does “thriving” mean? They will be able to find and apply the inner courage and resilience to pick themselves back up, even if shaky, and then try again (and again and again), reminding themselves that it’s all learning and everything is figureoutable. And they can and they will (even if sometimes it looks doubtful).
Sanity tip for us parents: When we start to feel doubtful (we can see that proverbial bump in the road coming and they aren’t slowing down or using caution!!), let’s take a second to stand in place, take a deep breath in and then out, and say out loud to ourselves: Life is messy, life is learning, they are where they need to be — because it is where they are. And then from this space of a little more chillness, we can ask ourselves honestly and thoughtfully what might be a useful next step (which might involve doing something and also might involve doing nothing but holding space for them — which is sometimes the most useful thing of all). When we try to help from a wadded up, worrying our heads off space? We’re much less useful and effective for them (not to mention for ourselves).
Want some support to help us help them? Check out these thoughtful reads:
Everything Is Figureoutable (Marie Forleo)
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.)
7 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in the Past 2 Years (An article I found thoughtful by twenty-something Shelly Gregory that reminds me that yes, our kids will face struggles as they head into adulthood– and it’s through the challenging times that they will learn, grow, make it through, and ultimately thrive.)