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As a parent I'm sure many of you have had the experience of being involved in some type of volunteer group; Brownies, soccer, football, baseball, cheer, Awanas... the list goes on, you fill in the blank! And I'm also pretty sure many of you have stood back and observed in fascinated horror certain parents who just lose it when they get involved in these activities.
The toughest times as a parent are the times when you can't change it, fix it or make it better for your child. You can only be there beside them and love them through. A crucial part of growing up is learning how to deal with adversity. No one talks about how it's also a crucial part of parenting. Learning how to be there and how to let your child go through the tough times is probably the most difficult lessons for a parent. Most parents I talk with feel that they've failed if they can't fix things or make them better when their children are struggling or hurting.
In any relationship, raising any type of family, probably the slowest, hardest lesson to learn is that regardless of what side of the relationship we're on - we're part of the problem. When was the last time that you actually went home and said to your partner/spouse/child: "I learned something today - I was wrong..." and then you actually stated how you were wrong? Nothing helps build a bridge more than letting the other person know you're willing to work. It also takes away some of the stress you're feeling. Being angry, mad, and defensive takes a lot of work and creates a lot of stress.
After last month's article regarding "What's Happening to Moms," I had the best conversation with a mother of six children - four boys and two girls. She told me that thing that made the biggest difference for her was learning to laugh - at both herself and her children. Her stress level went down and her enjoyment in her family went up when she stopped taking everything so seriously and learned to laugh more. That conversation really got me to thinking about the laughter level in my own household. When was the last time I laughed so hard at something it made me cry?
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