I was driving a few days ago and saw something beautiful. A mom was standing on the sidewalk with her daughter, maybe 10 years old, just holding her. They were both very still and quiet. This mom was so tender, patient and present. The daughter was so open, so trusting, not only allowing her mom to hold her but also letting her emotions be seen and cared for publicly.
This kind of moment matters so deeply. The time that we stop, let go of what we were trying to accomplish, and care for our child. It doesn't happen often but when it does is better than a thousand words about love and acceptance.
When your child is upset, sad, or hurt, try this. Just hold them. If they're open, put your arms around them and hold them with no words at all or only a few affirming words. Don't fall into the trap of fixing a problem or getting past it, but embracing your child just as they are in the moment.
Sometimes a child doesn't want to be held. When that's the case, we can still hold them with our awareness. An angry, hostile child needs holding just as much as a crying and helpless one, but they need a different approach. When your child is angry, don't wish their feelings away and try to get them into a better frame of mind. Open to it, allowing them to be exactly as they are. Offer a strong, clear 'yes' to their current mood even when it makes you uncomfortable.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness helps me find peace with my imperfect journey--being with myself as I truly am, loving my family as they are, and showing up for a messy world with openness and compassion.