Another Lie You Tell Your Kids Without Knowing It

By: Kristin Martineau | August 11, 2018

This lie is especially damaging to you and your child’s mental health.

It’s a tricky one, because you probably don’t say these words, but it’s often implied by what you do and how you respond to your child’s emotions.

There are several variations of this lie that go like this:

  • You should be happy all the time
  • The purpose of life is to be happy
  • Something is wrong if you aren’t feeling happy
Intellectually most of us understand that we aren’t going to be happy all the time, but we often send the message to our kids that negative emotion is a problem that needs to be fixed.
How often do you notice that your child is sad and say, “What’s wrong?”
Do you try and talk your child out of negative emotion?
Do you buy them treats to try and make them feel better?
Do you punish them for being in a bad mood?
Disclaimer: I’m totally guilty of all the things above and I’m not saying that we should allow our children to suffer needlessly, but I think there is a better way.
One time someone gave my youngest daughter a balloon. She was so excited about her pretty red balloon! We walked outside and the wind immediatley blew her balloon into a bush and it popped. She was totally devastated in the way that only a three year old could be over a popped balloon. It was actually really heart breaking and my first inclination was to go to the store and get her a new one. I wanted to fix it. I realized though that this was a great opportunity for me to help guide her through feeling and processing a really intense emotion.
So I empathized with her. I gave her a hug and I told her I understand how disappointed and upset she must feel. I asked her what she was feeling. “Sad!” she screamed. I asked her what sad feels like in her body. I told her it was okay to feel sad. The car ride home wasn’t pleasant for either of us. It was haaaard to just allow her to suffer.
As mothers, it’s natural to want our children to be happy, but I also want my kids to understand that negative emotion is normal and they can handle it. I don’t want to take away opportunities to help them develop the emotional resilience they will most certainly need in their lives.
I spend a lot of time with my clients in my coaching program helping them learn and implement emotional management skills into their family. If you want more help from me on how to do that, I offer two free sessions a week. Click here to grab your spot before someone else does!
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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