For our recent Mom’s group, we discussed reality: the fact that we don’t live in a perfect world and how we can help our kids to understand this! I will share the questions and some thoughts we had during our time.
First question: How has your child experienced an imperfect world?
Reality hits hard and it hits fast. From the first hunger pain, to the realization that some things are hot to the fact that moms sometimes say “no.”
There are 3 areas that a child must learn to overcome imperfection:
Self: The realization that they aren’t perfect.
Others: The realization that others aren’t perfect (even mom).
World: The realization that the world isn’t perfect. Rain happens on birthdays, animals die, toys break.
What’s our role in helping them deal with these realities?
We talked a lot about helping them to cope with keeping a soft heart. If we can help them develop a character that will enable them to be happy in an imperfect world, that will benefit them tremendously!
Self esteem plays a large roll in this. Helping our kids to be confident in who they are despite the uncertainty of the world is important. It’s not about being a “good girl” or a “bad girl”, it’s more important to emphasize that they are loved. They are loved whether they behave good or bad. But their behavior doesn’t make them good or bad.
How self esteem is developed is giving them a combination of grace and truth to feel safe in this world. From Raising Great Kids: “The cure of the problem of self-image, self-concept, and self-esteem is to have enough grace to be who one really is.”
As a child embraces the reality of this world, they will usually protest the painful reality. I know I do! But we can’t run in and save our children from this, but rather help them learn how to deal with it. If they have enough love, they can learn to let go. After they have protested the reality, mourning can set in. This is the opportunity we have as mom’s to comfort. As Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
Having a toddler means a lot of the limits and “reality” come from me. But I have experienced with her that if we stick to a limit, she will protest at first, then grieve, but then she moves on. We try to give her empathy by saying we know how hard it is to, for example, not be able to watch youtube all day (yes, she is a youtube junky). Then we offer all of the other options she has to be entertained even if she has lost the control battle. After her battle is over, she’ll often say, “I’m happy!” Which is a relief to hear just a few minutes after she has thrown herself on the floor, kicking and screaming.
Learning to deal with the reality of this broken world is tough at any age. Let’s try to help our kids at an early one!