Give the Gift of Stress

If you help a butterfly emerge from it's chrysalis it will die because it needs the stress of this experience to develop it's wings for flight.

A lobster won't grow unless it becomes uncomfortable with its shell.  It must exit it's hardened confined shell in order to develop a larger one.

Likewise, our teenagers needs to experience stress and often failure in order to develop the internal fortitude necessary for life on their own.

When we choose to deliver our children from life's painful experiences, we may really be delivering them from the necessary building blocks of adulthood such as courage, responsibility and strength.  These traits can easily be substituted with entitlement, anxiety and low self worth.   

If your child isn't allowed to learn to handle the minor struggles in life when you are there, how can they be expected to persevere through the major hurdles that are no doubt coming when they are on their own? 

In order to help them grow, consider offering your child a safe place to fail, encouragement to get up when they fall and the knowledge that your love and acceptance is not determined by their performance.  Think about taking a step back to see how they will address their problems.  This will be stressful for them (and you)!  That's ok.  Remember, there is no growth without stress and there is no adulthood without growth!

 

- Josh Grover MA, LMHC