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Lions Roar : November 2015
WHEN MY DAUGHTER WAS FOUR, she said to me, “Mommy, I’m worried.” She had tension in her voice and fear in her eyes. Concerned, I asked, “Sweetie, what are you worried about?” With mounting frustration, she replied, “I don’t know.” My first instinct as a parent was to get inthereandtrytofixit,asifIhadthe power to remove the painful emotion from her body. I wanted to tell her that everything was okay and there was noth- ing to worry about, then make her some popcorn, put in a movie, and give her an extra snuggle. But with my background in wilder- ness therapy and now as a parent coach, I knew I needed to resist my first impulse. Trying to fix kids’ feelings or distract them from their emotions doesn’t work. It can even create more problems, because it encourages kids to look to us for emotional rescue and disrupts their ability to process their feelings naturally. So I pulled my daughter onto my lap and said, “Worry is okay, honey. Worry is a normal emotion, just like being happy, sad, and mad. I get worried too.” She didn’t seem terribly satisfied with my response, but she did accept it and she moved on. A few days later she said, “Mommy, I am worried again.” “What are you worried about, sweetie?” I asked. Now more frustrated—“I DON’T KNOW!” I continued with the same answer. “Worry is okay, it’s a normal feeling.” I HEART & MIND How to Raise an Emotionally Resilient Child Emotional health, says parenting coach KRISSY POZATEK, means accepting the full range of human emotions. For parents who wish their children nothing but happiness, this can be difficult to accept. ©TERRYVINE/BLEND KRISSY POZATEK, LCSW, is the author of Brave Parenting: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Raising Emotionally Resilient Children (Wisdom Publications). SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2015 19 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE