"Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it's at the end of your arm. As you get older, remember you have another hand: the first is to help yourself, the second is to help others."
-- Audrey Hepburn
Parents are looking forward to their children coming home for spring break. Parents are rehearsing in their head what they will say this month when their children get the accepted or I am sorry not accepted letter for the college of their choice. Whether it is good news you are clicking towards or anxiety news, you need to take care of yourself first.
When I have unrealistic expectations, for example, that my daughter will want to plant tomatoes in the garden because she always has loved doing that with me, I set myself up for resentment. Truth is, the resentment is towards me not here. I forgot to check in with myself and say something like, I will ask if she wants to garden, but not assume just because she use to like gardening that she will want to spend her time doing that this time at home.
It sounds trite, simple, but I hear from thousands of parents across the country of how disappointed they were in their children. Lower your automatic expectations. We change. They change. Offer the idea but don't demand it, nor wait for them to participate with you. If you want to get your tiny tomatoes planted, go and enjoy your garden time.
Yes, you will feel disappointed that what you used to do wasn't available this time, but hopefully, you won't harbor anger towards yourself or your children because they didn't want to do what you wanted to do.
Children hurt when they don't get what they hoped for. How have you comforted your children in the past? Do you think that would work now or do you need to shift your extension of love towards them.
I think when children get that letter of I am sorry...... they just need time with themselves along with a sweet present moment from you that go like this, " I am so sorry. I know how much you wanted to go to that college. I believe in you. I know you will be going to college in the fall."
You know your child, so you will know what to say, especially if you think about it before the mail arrives. We feel sad when they are sad. Sadness isn't permanent. Hopefully there are choices for your children or alternative plans.
Take good care of yourself first, so you can care for others. Good news wishes to you. May you enjoy your time together.
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