SAVING FOR YOUR CHILD’S EMOTIONAL FUTURE
I have a little joke with myself and friends. When we talk about saving for our children’s future I always say, “I have their college savings, and the other jar—the one for their therapy.” People often laugh. I can tell they get a little uncomfortable at the thought that “their child” might ever need therapy, as if in some way that is a reflection on them as a person or as a failure of a parent.
Here’s the deal, sometimes it is a reflection on them (which is not necessarily the worst thing) but sometimes it’s not. You could have an idyllic childhood or one wroght with trauma, heartache and pain.
The bottom line is this: if you are human, you have experienced trials and tribulations. For some people life is easier than for others. At some point your child will likely experience something that throws them for a loop; it might be a death, a breakup, a C on their first exam. It might be rape or illness or just feeling lost and a bit disconnected.Somehow, as parents, we have lost our way in terms of protecting our children.
Of course, as parents it is our job to protect our children, but what are we protecting them from? That’s the real question.
We can guide them to maneuver over or around obstacles. However, we are doing a tremendous disservice to pick them up and carry them so they don’t have to experience pain. It seems it’s become our parenting philosophy – that if our children feel pain then we have failed to protect them – which has become job description #1.
I can also tell you that even though I sit with people in their pain everyday, when it is your own child it is INCREDIBLY painful. But honestly, this is what our children want and need. I will often ask my daughter when she is talking to me about a situation at school, “Do you want me to try to help you fix this or just listen?” 9 times out of 10 she says, “just listen” and it’s tough.
Does that mean I failed as a parent because my child or children need therapy? I choose to believe it means I was successful enough to show my children that there are other people out there who can help.So, the take-home here is start saving for your child’s therapy today, I promise, your kids will need it (and maybe even thank you for it).
Connection challenge: Sign up for my blog post and get my weekly connection challenges. Many of these are ideas taken out of sessions with my patients.
Also published on Medium.