When things go terribly wrong, young children typically take solace in their parents’ consolations. They want to know that everything will be okay and that their setback, pain or discomfort is temporary. However, as kids age the tide can change. Sometimes when bad comes knocking tweens and teens don’t want to hear that all will be well, that they should “get over it,” or that so-and-so has it much worse. Rather, they want you to agree their situation sucks and allow them to macerate in their misery for a while.
Moms especially are prone to wanting to fix all the wrongs in their children’s lives. They’d rather transfer the pain to themselves rather than see their flesh and blood suffer. Most mothers would agree that it’s hard to sit and watch a son or daughter cry and not instinctively want to do anything and everything to take away the hurt. But what happens when you can’t fix it?
That’s when you need to step away for a bit. In doing so you may achieve the distance needed to realize that you can’t magically erase your child’s sorrow. While you may have to fight the temptation to help, experts recommend giving a grieving teen space.
Grief can be triggered by a variety of incidents, from losing the state basketball championship or breaking your leg the day before the big dance competition, to failing to get into the college of your choice or losing a cherished pet. Regardless of the situation, you may make your child feel worse if you insist that he instantly push past the pain.
So, the next time your child is experiencing sorrow, resist the urge to have him fast-forward over the sadness. Instead, give him the time and space to feel what he’s feeling rather than what you want him to feel.