You can’t fix it for someone else, whatever that thing may be — feeling depressed, anxious, upset, angry, sad. And don’t try to fix your child’s feelings of frustration. Sure, offer a helping hand, though remember whatever they are doing is THEIRS — not for you to do for them. And the feeling of being frustrated offers useful learnings. Help them practice to listen to the frustration rather than push it away as somehow wrong or bad. Let’s not rob them of the learning available.

Rather, be the model of things you can do when feeling low, angry, “bad,” frustrated (ideas: do an 8 count of dance moves, make yourself laugh — while you may feel stupid doing it, it will help loosen things up inside, tell yourself a silly sentence with made up words, do 20 jumping jacks, say out loud “Everything is figureoutable” or “Life is messy sometimes”). Show them how the choices they make with sleep, rest, food and drink, and exercise can impact their mood. Demonstrate paying attention to your thoughts — and how you can choose where you put your mental, emotional, and physical energy (sure, things may happen or pop to mind, though we always have a choice with what we continue to focus on). Be sample size 1 for your own personal modeling experiment for them to observe.

Set your expectations low: they may not respond at all. You may be rebuffed. Or seemingly ignored. That’s okay. Your expectations are low (or non-existent) for them, though feel free to set them high for yourself. Expect yourself to take care of yourself — because it is helping you both.

We’re looking at the long game here, people. Whatever the immediate response, feeling, or thought (perhaps this seems silly or pointless to you/them) — it doesn’t matter much, if at all. But in the long game? Imagine the seeds for well being that are being planted. It may take days, weeks, years before we see tangible things. That’s okay (and heck, take it as a chance to practice the skill of patience). Amazing things will grow and are taking root.

Skip the fixing. Be the model. You will never go wrong being the model.

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