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The Power of Listening: Learning to Love Through the Hurt as a Parent

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

"Today was a Difficult Day," said Pooh. There was a pause. "Do you want to talk about it?" asked Piglet. "No," said Pooh after a bit. "No, I don't think I do." "That's okay," said Piglet, and he came and sat beside his friend. "What are you doing?" asked Pooh. "Nothing, really," said Piglet. "Only, I know what Difficult Days are like. I quite often don't feel like talking about it on my Difficult Days either. "But goodness," continued Piglet, "Difficult Days are so much easier when you know you've got someone there for you. And I'll always be here for you, Pooh." And as Pooh sat there, working through in his head his Difficult Day, while the solid, reliable Piglet sat next to him quietly, swinging his little legs...he thought that his best friend had never been more right." A.A. Milne ◆ PS ◆

This really touched my heart today. As a mother of only adult children, I often experience an impulse to want to solve issues I see my kids having when I haven’t been asked. When they were small it was my job to protect them. As they’ve grown it has become my job to guide them, but only when asked. My youngest son was brave and shared with me how he felt about me “always trying to solve his problems” and not trusting that he will come to me when he needs guidance. He said “it makes me want to avoid you and not be around you, which isn’t what I want.” I struggle because my kids mean everything to me, and when they hurt, I hurt. But hurting is part of life, and as a parent one of my jobs is to just love them through the hurt because it’s just part of life. Falling down from mistakes is also part of life and it hurts. Of course, as parents we want to protect our kids from hurt, but we just can’t do it all the time. I know it’s hard, but we have to learn to tolerate the powerless of it. We have to learn to sit in our own discomfort so that we can show up with support, which may not look like the support we want to offer. I know I won’t be perfect at it. But I’m going to keep trying. I know my sons will appreciate it, and maybe, just maybe, it will actually bring them closer to me and they will feel safer to reach out to me when they really do need me!

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